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57 Years After Salk Vaccine, World Is On Verge Of Eradicating Polio

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - In Pittsburgh, we take special pride in the fact that the vaccine for polio was developed right here by Dr. Jonas Salk, and first used April 12, 1955.

With this anniversary, comes the 75th anniversary of the founding of the March of Dimes, which heavily funded Salk's work.

KDKA-AM's Larry and John marked the anniversary by talking to Dr. Peter Salk, Jonas Salk's son and president of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation. Salk says he is proud of his father's work, as well as the continued work by the March of Dimes.

"Starting with President Roosevelt and the March of Dimes, who put their support behind my father in Pittsburgh, and another vaccine project Albert Sabin conducted in Ohio," he said, "these two vaccines are poised to put an end to polio around the world."

While much of the world has enjoyed several generations without polio, there are still people suffering and health organizations around the globe are very close to completely eradicating polio.

"When this initiative started in 1988, there were 350,000 cases globally," Salk said. "And now there are 223."

And Salk says his father only cared about completing the project and not fame or fortune. In fact, during an interview after the vaccine was proven successful, Jonas Salk was asked who owned the patent on the vaccine.

"The people, I would say," Jonas Salk gave as an answer. "Can you patent the sun?"

Dr. Peter Salk

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