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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 Franciss influenza vaccine project at the University of Michigan As a result of Salks 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 1970s 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 1980s 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 Salks 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
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