Hypeplug.com

April 27, 2009

This Day in History: Polio vaccine trials begin

Filed under: Entertainment — hypeplug @ 2:04 am

History.com

April 26: General Interest
1954 : Polio vaccine trials begin

On this day in 1954, the Salk polio vaccine field trials, involving 1.8 million children, begin at the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia. Children in the United States, Canada and Finland participated in the trials, which used for the first time the now-standard double-blind method, whereby neither the patient nor attending doctor knew if the inoculation was the vaccine or a placebo. On April 12, 1955, researchers announced the vaccine was safe and effective and it quickly became a standard part of childhood immunizations in America. In the ensuing decades, polio vaccines would all but wipe out the highly contagious disease in the Western Hemisphere.


April 26: General Interest
1954 : Polio vaccine trials begin

On this day in 1954, the Salk polio vaccine field trials, involving 1.8 million children, begin at the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia. Children in the United States, Canada and Finland participated in the trials, which used for the first time the now-standard double-blind method, whereby neither the patient nor attending doctor knew if the inoculation was the vaccine or a placebo. On April 12, 1955, researchers announced the vaccine was safe and effective and it quickly became a standard part of childhood immunizations in America. In the ensuing decades, polio vaccines would all but wipe out the highly contagious disease in the Western Hemisphere.

Polio, known officially as poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease that has existed since ancient times and is caused by a virus. It occurs most commonly in children and can result in paralysis. The disease reached epidemic proportions throughout the first half of the 20th century. During the 1940s and 1950s, polio was associated with the iron lung, a large metal tank designed to help polio victims suffering from respiratory paralysis breathe.

President Franklin Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio in 1921 at the age of 39 and was left paralyzed from the waist down and forced to use leg braces and a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In 1938, Roosevelt helped found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes. The organization was responsible for funding much of the research concerning the disease, including the Salk vaccine trials.

The man behind the original vaccine was New York-born physician and epidemiologist Jonas Salk (1914-95). Salk’s work on an anti-influenza vaccine in the 1940s, while at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, led him, in 1952 at the University of Pittsburgh, to develop the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), based on a killed-virus strain of the disease. The 1954 field trials that followed, the largest in U.S. history at the time, were led by Salk’s former University of Michigan colleague, Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr.

In the late 1950s, Polish-born physician and virologist Albert Sabin (1906-1993) tested an oral polio vaccine (OPV) he had created from a weakened live virus. The vaccine, easier to administer and cheaper to produce than Salk’s, became available for use in America in the early 1960s and eventually replaced Salk’s as the vaccine of choice in most countries.

Today, polio has been eliminated throughout much of the world due to the vaccine; however, there is still no cure for the disease and it persists in a small number of countries in Africa and Asia.

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General Interest
1954 : Polio vaccine trials begin
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihVideoCategory&id=54058
1937 : Nazis test Luftwaffe on Guernica
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4950
1986 : Nuclear disaster at Chernobyl
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6879

American Revolution
1711 : David Hume is born
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=475

Automotive
1906 : Pierce purchases land for new facility
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=7396

Civil War
1865 : Johnston surrenders
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2188
1865 : Death of John Wilkes Booth
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2187

Cold War
1954 : Geneva Conference begins
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2649

Crime
1913 : Girl murdered in pencil factory
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=984

Disaster
1986 : Nuclear explosion at Chernobyl
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=415

Entertainment
1924 : MGM’s lot dedicated
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=3213
1970 : Gypsy Rose Lee dies
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=3214
1989 : Lucille Ball dies
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=3212

Literary
1893 : Anita Loos is born
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=3951

Old West
1798 : James Beckwourth is born
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4501

Presidential
1984 : Reagan visits China
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=507

Sports
1918 : Olympic track star Fanny Blankers-Koen is born
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=57546

Vietnam War
1971 : U.S. troop strength in South Vietnam at five-year low
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1807
1972 : Nixon announces additional troop withdrawals
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1808

World War I
1915 : Allies sign Treaty of London
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=444

World War II
1894 : Rudolf Hess is born
http://www.history.com/tdih.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6434

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ History.com on the Go ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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This Week’s Hidden Treasure
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ More from History.com ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Battles BC @ 9pm/8C
New episode tonight, 4/26

Watch full episodes online.

Could you pass the citizenship quiz? History challenges all Americans to test their citizenship quotient. Take the challenge.
http://www.history.com/genericContent.do?id=57117

Also play the Road to Citizenship Game.
http://www.history.com/content/citizen_quiz/play-the-road-to-citizenship-game

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