Microbiologist Albert Bruce Sabin was born in 1906 in Bialystok, Russia (now Poland). He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1921 and was naturalized in 1930. He attended New York University, receiving an M.D. in 1931. He joined the staff of the Rockefeller Institute as a medical researcher. In 1939 he became a member of the college of medicine of the University of Cincinnati, later becoming professor of pediatrics. Sabin developed a live virus vaccine against poliomyelitis that can be given by mouth; it was field tested in 1959, and has largely replaced the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, which was based on heat-killed viruses. It provides a stronger and more longlasting immunity than the earlier vaccine and protects against both paralysis and infection. In his later work, Sabin has concentrated on cancer research.
Infantile paralysis (polio), as the name suggests, was a disease that struck children particularly. However, it was no respecter of age and affected some adults with the same dire results. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second president of the United States, was stricken at thirty-nine.