Albert Sabin has been called “the doctor who gave summer back to the children.”
Because of his decades of research to develop the oral polio vaccine, children today know nothing of the fear that polio brought to the United States every summer well into the 20th century. Swimming pools and movie theaters were closed and children were kept inside their homes by frightened parents. Worldwide, the disease killed millions of people and left legions of others permanently disabled.
We’ve just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Dr. Sabin’s vaccine. Estimates suggest that in just its first two years of worldwide use, the vaccine prevented nearly 500,000 deaths and five million cases of polio. Today, the world is on the brink of realizing Dr. Sabin’s lifetime dream: the eradication of polio from the planet.
The development of the oral polio vaccine required years of extensive research with rabbits, monkeys and rodents.
Animal rights activists long ago seized on a single phrase by Dr. Albert Sabin, and have been using it ever since to try to support their outrageous claim that the developer of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) opposed the use of animals in research.
That phrase, “The work on prevention (of polio) was long delayed by an erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on misleading experimental models of disease in monkeys” spoken by Dr. Sabin during a congressional hearing in 1984, has been used in animal rights publications and comments for over two decades.
Do you care to learn what was involved in the development of the oral polio vaccine and what Dr. Albert Sabin actually thought of animal research? The folks at Speaking of Research have the story only one click away.