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Interesting Facts About Jonas Salk

This is a list of 15 very interesting facts about Jonas Salk. I hope you enjoy the facts!

15. Jonas Salk was an American physician and medical researcher who developed the first safe and effective vaccine for polio.

14. Born in New York City on October 28, 1914, who is among the most respected medical scientists of the century.

13. He did research on the influenza virus at the Univ. of Michigan, in 1946 became assistant professor of epidemiology there, and in 1947 went to the Univ. of Pittsburgh.

12. Shortly after Salk’s vaccine breakthrough, legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow sat down with the scientist for an interview. At one point, Murrow asked Salk who owned the patent on the vaccine, and Salk responded with one of the most famous quotes of his career: “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

11. Salk’s greatest contribution to immunology was the insight that a “killed virus” is capable of serving as an antigen , prompting the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that will attack invading organisms.

10. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants with rather scarce education and rather poor material situation, non the less they wanted to educate their kids as much as they could.

9. While attending New York University School of Medicine, Salk stood out from his peers not just because of his academic prowess, but because he went into medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician.

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8. On April 12, 1955, the vaccine was released for use in the United States.

7. In 1963 he became director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego; he retired in 1975.

6. His father, Daniel B. Salk, was a garment worker, who designed lace collars and cuffs and enjoyed sketching in his spare time.

5. Jonas attended Townsend Harris High School which was a public institution designed for intellectually gifted students. There he received his dose of scholar discipline since schools motto was “study, study, study”.

4. Until 1955, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of the post-war United States.

3. Salk interned at Mount Sinai Hospital for two years and then earned a fellowship to University of Michigan, where he studied flu viruses with Dr. Thomas Francis Jr.

2. The Salk vaccine is made by cultivating three strains of the virus separately in monkey tissue. The virus is separated from the tissue, stored for a week, and killed with formaldehyde; tests are then made to make certain that it is dead. A series of three or four injections with the killed-virus vaccine is required to confer immunity.

1. Salk died at age 80 on June 23, 1995. A monument at the Institute with a statement from Salk captures his vision, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”

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