The Man Behind Discovery of Oral Polio Vaccine

Since last few days, the news concerning the administration of the pulse polio vaccines contaminated with the type-2 poliovirus to the children in Maharashtra and Telangana besides Uttar Pradesh has become a matter of harsh anxiety. According to the official confirmation received from the Health Ministry spokespersons, some ampoules of the oral polio vaccines, which were manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company, were contaminated. Categorically this incidence is a staple of serious concern. Still, India was officially declared polio-free by the government in March 2014. Assuredly, the man behind this accomplishment is Dr. Albert Sabin. Dr. Albert Bruce Sabin discovered oral polio vaccine on the same date (October 6) in 1956. He belonged to partial Polish ancestry—a Polish American. Dr. Sabin was a renowned medical researcher, best known for developing the oral polio vaccine which has played a key role in nearly eradicating the disease.

Aptly known as the Sabin vaccine, the Oral Pulse Polio Vaccine is an oral vaccine comprising of enfeebled forms of strains of polioviruses. Even before this oral vaccine was discovered, in 1955, one of the ally of Sabi, Jonas Salk’s killed vaccine was released for use. It was effective in preventing most of the complications of polio. However, it could not prevent the preliminary intestinal infection. It was in this setting, the Sabin vaccine attained its prominence. The Sabin vaccine worked in the intestines to block the poliovirus from entering the arteries. In the intestines, with the administration of the oral vaccine, the poliovirus burgeoned and attacked. As a result, the oral vaccine broke the chain of diffusion of the virus and allowed for the possibility that polio might one day be eradicated.

Sabin had not only developed the oral pulse polio vaccine but had also developed vaccines against other viral diseases such as encephalitis and dengue. Furthermore, he considered possible links between viruses and some forms of cancer.As envisioned by Sabin that that polio might one day be eradicated, the government of India with a similar vision of eradicating poliomyelitis or polio from the country had initiated an immunization campaign during the period 1995-96. By this, it was intended to vaccinate all children under the age of 5yrs. This program has been receiving the support of various international institutions, state governments, and NGOs.

It is evident that the World Health Organization (WHO) had removed India from the list of polio-endemic countries. The country, on the record, has been declared polio-free. So far, for last eight years, not even a single case of polio has been reported in India, thereby making India polio-free.

Assertively, the achievement cannot be credited to a single person or government alone rather it is the result of the collective work of many stakeholders. The celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan deserve credibility, certainly. Media is not an exception, for it played the key role in bringing awareness among the masses. Of course, last but not least — the parents of all children aged under 5 years are collectively responsible for the triumph.The first ever success makes us more responsible. More such initiatives are to be collectively undertaken to come out with flying colors. Facts reveal that any mission undertaken with a clear planning and execution will surely fetch the desired results.

In order to get hold of desired results, a well-sketched plan is a primary requisite. The success of pulse polio program could be set as an example and may be adopted by all such systems wherein a progress is intended. Project designing, execution, and selection of the stakeholders are the three major areas which must be addressed well before the actual implementation.

Collectively, let us all strive to eradicate every malicious disease from our country. Before closing, let us hope that no such problem will recur as the recent administration of the pulse polio vaccines contaminated with the type-2 poliovirus.

– Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi