Polio Vaccine Found "Safe and Effective" 60 Years Ago: What Would Salk Think Today?

April 13, 2015 8:36 AM

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It was 60 years ago yesterday that the nation heaved an enormous collective sigh of relief. The largest clinical trial for a vaccine in history had concluded, the data had been collected and analyzed, and the results were announced on April 12, 1955, coincidentally the ten-year anniversary of polio sufferer Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death: Jonas Salk‘s inactivated polio vaccine was “safe, effective and potent.”

“People were hugging in the streets, kids were let out of school, Salk was invited to the White House where Eisenhower broke down in tears thanking him – it was really this shining moment of great faith in science and in medical research,” said David Oshinsky, the director of the Division of Medical...

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