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

University of Oxford launches Podium Analytics Institute for Youth Sports Medicine and Technology

Oxford University has been selected as the home of the new Podium Analytics Institute for Youth Sports Medicine and Technology. This will be the world’s first academic Institute focused on young athletes’ safety and lifelong health and will combine Oxford’s longstanding tradition in sports and education with the very best of science, medicine, and technology.

Prestigious award for Oxford professor's diabetes work

A University of Oxford professor has been awarded the 2021 EASD-Novo Nordisk Foundation Prize for Excellence for his decades of effort to understand, prevent and combat type 1 diabetes.

Wellcome accolades for Dr Douglas

Dr Alexander (Sandy) Douglas, an investigator at the Jenner Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, has recently received two prestigious Wellcome accolades.

FOCUS4: a flagship trial in colorectal cancer

Professor Tim Maughan (Department of Oncology) outlines the flagship work of the FOCUS4 trials, whose results were presented last weekend at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) annual meeting

Oxford and Oracle partner to speed identification of COVID-19 variants

The fast spread of the highly infectious Delta variant underscores the need for faster identification of COVID-19 mutations. Uniting governments and medical communities in this challenge, the University of Oxford and Oracle’s Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) is now being used by organizations on nearly every continent. Institutions using the platform include: the University of Montreal Hospital Centre Research Centre, the Institute of Public Health Research of Chile, the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research – New South Wales Pathology, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies. GPAS is also now part of the Public Health England New Variant Assessment Platform.