Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
The Conversation logo

If you have been following the media coverage of the new vaccines in development for COVID-19, it will be clear that the stakes are high. Very few vaccine trials in history have attracted so much attention, perhaps since polio in the mid-20th century.

A now largely forgotten chapter, summer polio outbreaks invoked terror in parents. Today, restrictions on gatherings and movement in the efforts to control COVID-19 have been a huge strain on society, but in the 1950s, parents locked their children in stifling hot buildings during the summer with windows sealed shut because they were terrified polio would somehow seep through the cracks in the wall.

The development of the polio vaccine in the US in 1955 was a moment of global celebration. Reaching that point involved millions of citizens raising funds to develop the vaccine, political goodwill by the bucket-load and a driven public-private scientific collaboration, with scientist Jonas Salk at the helm. Children across the US were enlisted in one of the largest clinical trials in history.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by (Department of Paediatrics)

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.

Similar stories

Five ways the pandemic has affected routine medical care

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID has infected at least a third of the UK population and is estimated to have factored in the deaths of almost 200,000 people in the UK. But critically, COVID has also had a devastating impact on our healthcare systems. While this was expected, new evidence is beginning to reveal the scope of the issue – in particular the effects for people living with long-term health conditions.

Clinical trials for a malaria vaccine start in Mali and Indonesia

Sanaria Inc. announced that two new Phase 2 trials of its pioneering malaria vaccines have started. The first is in 6- to 10-year-old children living in Bancoumana, Mali, a malarious region of West Africa. The second is in Indonesian soldiers based in Sumatra, Indonesia. The soldiers will be deploying for six to nine months this coming August to an intensely malarious district in eastern Indonesia.

Mechanism of expanding bacteria revealed

A new study published in Nature has identified a potential Achilles heel in the protective layers surrounding Gram-negative bacteria that could aid in the development of next-generation antibiotics.

Oxford to receive £7 million to turn bright ideas into global opportunities

The University of Oxford has been awarded more than £7 million, the highest amount of funding given to organisations across the UK, in the latest round of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding - aimed at fueling the best, brightest and most disruptive ideas from Uk research institutions.

Discovery of gene involved in chronic pain creates new treatment target

Oxford researchers have discovered a gene that regulates pain sensitisation by amplifying pain signals within the spinal cord, helping them to understand an important mechanism underlying chronic pain in humans and providing a new treatment target.

Oxford's largest ever study into Varicose veins shows need for surgery is linked to genetics

A new international study by Oxford researchers published in Nature Communications establishes for the first time, a critical genetic risk score to predict the likelihood of patients suffering with Varicose veins to require surgery, as well as pointing the way towards potential new therapies.