Dr. Jonas Salk Essay, Research Paper
SALK, JONAS 1914-1995
Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. As a student, Salk became interested in vaccines. At the time it had been believed that bacterial vaccines could be made from a preparation of dead bacteria, which would immunize without inducing an infection. But scientists believed that a live vaccine had to be used in order to immunize against a virus. Salk was unsure of this and, after his internship he joined Dr. Thomas Francis’s influenza vaccine project at the University of Michigan. As a result of Salk’s efforts, the influenza vaccine became the first killed-virus vaccine.
After the completion of his work in Michigan, Salk moved to the University of Pittsburgh to direct his own viral research laboratory, where he began developing a polio vaccine under the sponsorship of the March of Dimes Foundation. Salk was convinced that only a killed-virus vaccine could be both effective and safe. In 1954 national field trials were conducted for the vaccine he created; on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared safe and effective. Salk became an international hero and millions of parents no longer feared that their child might be struck down by polio and die or be crippled for life. Polio has been eradicated in countries that use only the Salk vaccine, such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
In 1960 Salk founded the Salk Institute for Biomedical Sciences in La Jolla, California. In the 1970?s, he published five books of essays on human life and the nature of evolution. Salk became a Philanthropist through his appointment as a director of the MacArthur Foundation.
In the early 1980?s Salk joined the search for a vaccine for aids. By 1987 he had developed a postinfection, immunotherapeutic vaccine, which is currently undergoing tests.
The American Medical Community has never fully acknowledged Salk?s brilliant contribution as a research scientist. His observation that the cells of the immune system resemble those of the central nervous system led him to speculate that disease may involve interrelationships among our genetic system, nervous system, immune system, and behavior – and that the nervous and immune systems may follow similar patterns of development. Salk was one of the founders of the field of psychoneuroimmunology – the study of how mind, nervous system, and immune system work together.