Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in 1906 in Białystok, Russia (now Poland), he emigrated 1921 to America with his family. Sabin studied medicine at New York University and developed an intense interest in research, especially in the area of infectious diseases. By 1946 he had become the head of Pediatric Research at the University of Cincinnati.
With the menace of polio growing, he and other researchers, most notably Jonas Salk in Pittsburgh, sought a vaccine to prevent or to ameliorate this illness. Salk's so-called "killed" vaccine was tested and released for use in 1955. It was effective in preventing most of the complications of polio, but did not prevent the initial infection from occurring. Sabin's breakthrough occurred some five years later, when the United States Public Health Service endorsed his "live" virus vaccine for polio in 1961. His product, prepared with cultures of attentuated polio viruses, could be taken orally, and prevented the actual contraction of the disease. It is the drug which has effectively eliminated polio from industrialized countries.
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