Polio outbreaks were widespread in America during the early 20th century. The polio virus enters the human body either through nose or through mouth and then travels to the intestines. It incubates there and a few days later, the patients have flu-like symptoms which could be fever, headache, vomiting and nausea.
The disease spreads through virus-contaminated food, air or water or infected feces and droplets. Once the virus enters the bloodstream, antibodies are developed and life-long immunity is acquired. Some people end up becoming paralyzed in the case of very serious attacks where the virus destroys the nerve tissue.
Research to develop polio vaccine started during the early 1900s. Researchers did not know that there was more than one virus causing the disease. Now, it has been found that three viral strains can cause polio and immunity should be gained against all three viruses. The research to discover the nature of polio was quite long and painstaking.
In the year 1947, Jonas Salk started his research on developing a vaccine for polio. In 1949, there was advancement in the research where polio virus was grown using cell culture and in 1952, Salk became the first scientist to develop the polio vaccine. Formalin, a chemical was used to inactivate the virus. But the inactivation was not complete in a few cases and it still resulted in polio paralysis and death. In 1957, research improvement of the vaccine developed by Salk was started by Albert Bruce Sabin and by 1963 the infectious part of the virus was attenuated.
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