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Dr. Jonas Salk
Table of Contents
Jonas Edward Salk (Zelikovitch)
Dora and Daniel B.Salk
Year of Birth
: October 28,1914
:New York city, New york, US
Year of Death:
What he is famous for
:He developed the first vaccine against poliomuelitis.
Jonas Salk was born in the U.S.A. in October 28,1914,the son of a Jewish tailor His parents were from Russia, Jewish immigrants. They didn’t have a high level education, but it was important to them that their children succeed, and encouraged them to study hard. Jonas Salk was the first member of his family to go to college. He started in the City College of New York wanting to study law, but soon became interested in medical science.
He graduated university in 1939. For 2 years he was a medical doctor, and then he specialized in immunology and virology.
America, in the 1950's was a time when the children became sick with polio.
It was a very hard disease. Dr. Salk who was the head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh and worked on improving the flu vaccine started to study poliovirus and hoped to create a vaccine against the disease.
He was the first working at making a vaccine.
Dr. Salk learned from other scientists a way to produce the virus and a way
to kill the virus with formaldehyde . The vaccine is made of the 3 viruses that cause polio.
In 1952 volunteers, Dr. Salk, his wife and their three sons got a polio vaccine that he made from a dead virus. Everyone who got the vaccine began
producing antibodies to the disease and no one became ill.
In 1955, Salk's years of research gave results. Human trials of the polio vaccine protected the person from the polio virus. The discovery was made public on April 12,1955. Salk was called a miracle worker. He didn’t want to patent the vaccine. He didn’t want to profit personally from the discovery, but only wished to see the vaccine given to as many people as possible. In with 5 years the number of cases of polio went down by 95%, stopping the spreading of Polio among the children.
It was effective in most cases, but there are always exceptions. In the countries in which Salk's vaccination is still in use, the disease has been practically wiped out.
A few years after Dr. Salk developed the vaccine, a vaccine made from live polio virus Sabin that coud be taken orally was developed by Albert.
Dr. Salk worked with Thomas Francis Jr., who was looking for an influenza vaccine. They developed the vaccine that was used in the armed forces during World War 2. In 1943 During world war 2, public health experts feared a replay
Of the flu that had killed millions from the First World War.
The development of vaccines controlled the spread of flu after the war and the epidemic of 1919 did not happen again.
In 1963, Salk founded the Jonas Salk, institute for biological studies, an center for medical and scientific research. Jonas Salk continued to do research and write books, some written together with one or more of his sons, who are also medical scientists.
In Dr. Salk's last years, he searched for a vaccine against AIDS.
Jonas Salk died on June 23, 1995 at the age of 80.
Im very excited to be speaking to you today.
I want to tell you how I came to succeed in my wish to help people.
I hope this will encourage all of you to pursue great things.
I come from a family that had no college education.
My father never finished high school.
My work with vaccine came about because I was not accepted to the laboratory I wanted.
Sometimes this could happen because of anti – Semitism.
"There are two great tragedies in life. One is to not get what you want; the other is to get what you want. And if I had gotten what I wanted, it would have been a greater tragedy than my not getting what I wanted, because it allowed me to get something else" (Jonas Salk, interview, May 16, 1991)
When I became the head of the virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, I began to study poliovirus and hoped to create a vaccine against the disease.
In America, in the 50s, there was a time when children became sick with polio. Polio causes mainly leg problems, and sometimes affected the lungs. The disease is infectious and a lot of children got sick and some died.
From other scientists I learned a way to produce the virus and a way to kill the virus so that it remained intact enough to cause a response in humans. In 1952, volunteers, my wife, our three sons and I got the first polio vaccine that I made from the three dead viruses that cause the disease. Everyone who got the vaccine began producing antibodies to the disease and no one became ill. The vaccine prevented the spread of polio amongst children.
"You never have an idea of what you might accomplish. All that you do is you pursue a question and see where it leads" (Jonas Salk, interview, May 16, 1991). so remember always try to move forward.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew
I wanted to be a lawyer, but my mother thought that I wouldn't be a good lawyer because I didn’t win the arguments with her.
Dr. Salk, what was your job?
In 1947 I became the head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. I worked on improving the flu vaccine, then I began to study poliovirus and hoped to create a vaccine against the disease.
Who was the first person to attempt to make a vaccine for the disease?
I was the first to truly work at making a vaccine.
Why was it so important to develop the vaccine?
America in the 1950's was a time of fear for many parents, this was the season when children became infected with the crippling disease of polio.
Polio infects mainly kids, causing mainly leg paralysis. The kids that were infected began having trouble walking and had to walk with heavy metal braces around their legs in order to stabilize them. The disease sometimes affected the lungs. In such cases, a device was planted in the chest in order to help the lungs function correctly. The disease is contagious and because of that, the parents were very scared during that time, especially during the summer, when a lot of children got sick. Many parents did not allow their kids to go out-doors for that reason, and had to spend the summer at home. Public pools and air-conditioned movie theaters were some of the places that parents feared most. Every day at 5 PM there would be an announcement that said how many kids had become paralyzed and how many kids had died because of the disease. Everybody was very relieved when the vaccination was discovered.
What did you learn from other scientists that helped you find a vaccine?
I learned from other scientists a way to produce the virus and a way to kill the virus with formaldehyde so that it remained solid enough to cause a response in humans.
On whom did you try out the vaccine first and what was the results?
In 1952 volunteers, I, my wife and our three sons got a polio vaccine that was made from a dead virus. Everyone who got the vaccine began producing antibodies to the disease and no one became ill.
What is the difference between your vaccine and the vaccine used today in the U.S?
A few years after I developed the vaccine, a vaccine that was made from live polio virus, developed by Albert Sabin, that can be taken orally.
How did the vaccine affect all the people of the world?
The vaccine prevented the spreading of Polio among children.
Is the vaccine effective in all cases?
The vaccine is effective in most cases, but there are always exceptions. In the countries in which Salk's vaccination is still in use, the disease has been almost wiped out.
What other research did you do?
I worked with Thomas Francis Jr., who was looking for an influenza vaccine. We developed the vaccine that was used in the armed forces during World War 2.
We chose to work on this person because when we looked for a person, somebady suggested that we researt
Jonas Salk, and it looked interesting.
When we strarted to work on the project we saw that we enjoying to do it.
Shira: I learned about Dr. Jonas Salk that he was a good person and smart.
I learned from the project that you need to move forward and to realize what you think that you can do to help the world.
It was difficult for as to write in English.
Bruria: I learned from the project that Dr. Jonas Salk wanted to help the world and he did, and he was a good person.
I learned that you need to think how you can halp people and to do that.
It was difficult for as to write in English.
I vere enjoyed doing the project.
People and Discoveries
עורך: שמיר, עמי. אביב אנציקלופדיה כללית לצעירים. הוצאת מסדה בע"מ,1978
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