When the World Fought Polio for Over a Century

COVID-19 or Coronavirus as we all call it, is haunting us due to lack of vaccine. But this can be overcome if we know how we fought Polio for almost 100 years.

The spread of COVID-19 or which is commonly known as Coronavirus is giving chills to all of our spines. Well guys, I strongly believe we all have the same thoughts in mind given the condition now in the world. After listening to Alanna Shaikh, I stopped watching videos related to Coronavirus. This woman blew me off with her blunt tone and subject expertise. But whatever she said was true to a lot extent. But fearmongering, right? Yes guys, at least I feel it. Hence finally for this blog, I decided to talk on some positive aspects. The best I could talk about was how we fought back the kith and kin of Corona in the past. This will eventually build hope in you that this spooky guy will run away from us soon.

Polio is one disease that has existed for a very long time i.e. even before prehistoric times, according to Wikipedia. Anyhow the first modern outbreak appeared in the early 1900s in the United States and Europe. In 1916, 27,000 cases were reportedly infected and almost 6000 deaths were announced due to Poliomyelitis Epidemic. This number was in the USA alone. But New York as a city reported 2000 deaths. From then on, it became the seasonal flu. Again, the next big epidemic came upon 1949 and reported deaths of 2720 in the USA and over 42,000 confirmed cases. The deadliest of all was in 1952 with nearly 58,000 reported cases and over 3500 deaths followed by disabling paralysis in over 21,000 people.

The first licensed Oral Polio Vaccine came out in 1962 developed by Albert Sabin and this led to a mass decline of Polio cases in the USA gradually. Followed by other parts of the world. India as well reported a lot of Polio cases in the early 1980s and 1990s. By 1994, the Pulse Polio Campaign promoted by the Government of India turned out to be pretty effective. Last India reported was in 2011 and by 2014, India was declared as a Polio free nation.

But before the Oral Polio Vaccine of 1962, several attempts were made to discover a vaccine that could save lives. The best of all efforts according to me is of Maurice Brodie in 1935, who self-tested the vaccine and gave it to around 3000 children. Somehow, it didn’t give them immunity towards the disease. But first attempts turn out to be a failure always. Rather we must say, this guy had the guts to test it on him overruling the consequences. If we call Charles Babbage as The Father of Computers, this guy deserves to be called The Father of Polio Vaccine.   

Well, I hope this gave you some positive vibes that we can overcome COVID-19. But the vaccine is definitely a long way. Rather we can attempt to do some immunotherapies for ourselves to prevent its spread. In the next blog, we’ll see how the world fought Leprosy and most importantly, the involvement of Mother Teresa.

Before you go, read my blog on Why not to Wear Masks unless you have Corona.

Feature Image Courtesy: Photo by Ahmed Saad Qureshi from Pexels

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