On this date in 1960, Jonas E. Salk finalized a proposal to build the Salk Institute for Biological Studies near San Diego. Salk (1914-1995) had achieved fame as the physician who discovered the first polio vaccine while working at the University of Pittsburgh. Polio was a widely-feared disease that caused paralysis and oftentimes death. A polio outbreak in 1916 left 6,000 Americans dead and 27,000 paralyzed. (President Franklin Roosevelt had contracted polio at age 39.) In 1952, some 57,000 cases of polio were recorded in the U.S. After the vaccine became available, the numbers dropped by 90% in two years. (Another Jew, Dr. Albert Sabin, developed the first oral polio vaccine.) Since its founding, Salk's Institute has focused on molecular biology and genetics, and has trained more than 2,000 scientists including numerous Nobel Laureates.
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