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December 1973

Trial by Fury: The Polio Vaccine Controversy.

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Genesee Hospital Rochester, NY 14607

Am J Dis Child. 1973;126(6):862. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.02110190704036

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It has been almost a quarter of a century since a paper by Enders, Weller, and Robbins was published in Science entitled "Cultivation of the Lansing Strain of Poliomyelitis Virus in Cultures of Various Human Embryonic Tissues." This report signaled the beginning of modern virology. Since then hundreds of animal viruses have been cultivated in tissue culture, diagnostic tests have been developed, and vaccines have been produced which have markedly reduced the prevalence of certain diseases.

One of the great accomplishments of medicine in this or any other century has been the control of poliomyelitis. Most physicians can still remember the fear that swept the United States during the warmer months of the year. It is not surprising that the development of a vaccine against polio was of intense interest to the general public. This interest, kindled by a paralyzed President's remarkable ability to lead a country from a wheelchair,

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