Recently I received a Google alert for an article that mentioned Dr. Sabin. The article was about a live debate on H5N1 viruses sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences, and it briefly discussed Dr. Vincent Racaniello’s opinion on using ferrets as “models of flu effects in humans.” According to the article, “when [Dr. Racaniello] began studying viral pathogenesis under Albert Sabin and other eminent experts, ‘The first thing they said was when you study viruses in animals, don’t think you’ll learn much about what happens in humans.’”
Since Dr. Racaniello specifically mentioned Dr. Sabin, I thought I would do a little bit of research on their connection. This led me to a 1993 article by Dr. Racaniello that appeared in an issue of Biologicals dedicated to Dr. Sabin. I found Dr. Racaniello’s discussion of how Dr. Sabin influenced his research quite interesting, so I thought I would share some of the materials that he refers to in the article. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: An Influential Man
I recently read an article on the BBC News website, which stated that India had not reported case of polio in the country for a whole year, from January 13, 2011 to January 12, 2012. According to the World Health Organization, India was once considered “the world’s epicenter of polio.” Just a couple years ago, there were 741 reported cases in the country. The fight against polio in India has made significant strides in just a couple of years. The use of the oral polio vaccine, originally developed by Dr. Sabin, has helped India become polio-free for the first time.
The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives contains a good amount of materials related to the fight against polio in India. The collection includes correspondence between scientists working on polio research and the oral polio vaccine, documents written by Dr. Sabin and others on the status of polio in India, and photographs from his travel there. The photograph seen above is from his trip to India and Ceylon in 1963. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: India is One Year Polio-Free
In May 1950, at the sixtieth annual meeting of the American Pediatric Society, Dr. Sabin reported that he had discovered an “Antipoliomyelitic Substance in Milk of Human Beings and Certain Cows.” Although Dr. Sabin was cautious to say that research was still needed to determine what the substance was and how it could be useful, the popular press picked up on the report with headlines such as:
“Mother’s Milk Has Anti-Polio Substance,” Science Service, 16 May 1950
“Researcher Seeking Factor in Milk to Prevent Paralysis in Polio Cases,” Cincinnati Times-Star, 19 May 1950
“Anti-Polio Human Milk,” Science News Letter, 27 May 1950
This information even appeared in the May 29, 1950 issue of Time magazine. Due to the the large amount of publicity that this report received, Dr. Sabin accumulated letters from researchers and other interested parties. The information contained in these letters ranged from encouragement to suggestions for further research. For example, Dr. Sabin received several letters suggesting that he test goat’s milk for the same substance. Others provided suggestions as to what the mystery substance might be. Another example appears in the telegram seen to the left, in which Mr. Vinciguerra suggests testing sheep’s milk. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Milk Research Makes Headline News!
“On this day in 1938 @marchofdimes was founded by #FDR to combat #polio!”
In honor of the anniversary of the founding of the March of Dimes, here are a couple more things in the Sabin collection that highlight some of Dr. Sabin’s research he conducted with aid from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP). (You may recall from an earlier blog post that the NFIP later changed its name to the March of Dimes.)
In May 1944, Dr. Sabin gave the Bela Schick lecture called, “Studies on the Natural History of Poliomyelitis” at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. (For your information, Dr. Bela Schick was the developer of the Schick immunity test, which helped to determine if someone was susceptible to diphtheria. In 1923, he became director of the Department of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital.*) This lectureship was established by Dr. Schick’s friends and colleagues after his retirement, and Dr. Sabin was invited to give the 2nd annual lecture. Dr. Sabin was contacted by Dr. Murray Bass to give a report on “virus studies, especially in connection with poliomyelitis.” Of course, Dr. Sabin accepted, after he made sure that he would be in the country at the time. When contacted about a dinner prior to the lecture, he suggested that NFIP notables Mr. Basil O’Connor (President) and Dr. Don W. Gudakunst (Medical Director) be invited as well. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Happy (Belated) Anniversary, March of Dimes!
In August 2011, I attended the Society of American Archivists annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. While there, I attended a session called “Exploring the Evolution of Access: Classified, Privacy, and Proprietary Restrictions.” As I sat in the room listening to the speakers, I started to think how to apply these concepts to the Sabin digitization project.
For several weeks after the meeting, my colleagues and I had lively debates about how these concepts, as well as the recent SAA endorsed “Well-intentioned Practice for Putting Digitized Collections of Unpublished Materials Online” document, would affect the display of the Sabin materials online. On one hand, we recognize that Mrs. Sabin left Dr. Sabin’s important collection in our hands to ensure that this material is accessible to researchers around the world. On the other hand, we also recognized the need to do two things: 1.) protect the health information of those mentioned in the collection that participated in Dr. Sabin’s research, and 2.) make sure we don’t leak any classified government information online. Even though much of Dr. Sabin’s materials related to his research and his work with the military are considered “old” by some standards, it is still necessary to do our due diligence to protect information as needed. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: What Do "Restricted" and "Confidential" Mean?
From everyone at the Winkler Center, best wishes for the holiday season and the new year! In the spirit of the holiday season, here are some greetings from around the world that can be found in Dr. Sabin’s papers. Enjoy!
Since I have started the next phase of the Sabin digitization project, I have encountered several letters between Dr. Sabin and Dr. Charles D. Aring, an internationally known neurologist who served as a professor and department chairman in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Neurology from 1948-1974. It turns out that one of the Winkler Center student assistants, Miranda Scharf has been working to update the EAD-compatible finding aid for the Charles D. Aring papers, which reside in our archives. (Be on the lookout for an official announcement in the Winkler Center blog soon!) I thought I would highlight some materials in both of their manuscript collections to give you an idea of their relationship. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Dr. Sabin and Dr. Aring
[Sabin Archivist’s Note: This week features the first blog post from Megan Ryan, the Sabin Project student assistant. Megan is pursuing a Master of Community Planning from the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning here at the University of Cincinnati. She will be blogging on different Sabin-related topics as we work on the project. Please give Megan a warm welcome to the blogging world by reading her posts! -SB]
By Megan Ryan, Sabin Project Student Assistant
Last month, Stephanie and I went on a field trip to speak to past Rotary International Director, Bruce Cook. We sought insight into the involvement of Honorary Rotarian, Dr. Sabin, with Club 17. The Rotary Club of Cincinnati is given this title because it was the 17th Rotary Club formed in the United States in 1910 (the first was formed in Chicago in 1905). Mr. Cook told us many stories about Rotary, including when he met Dr. Sabin for the first time.
When the Rotary Polio Plus Sculpture was discussed, it struck me how wonderful it is that there is a physical reminder of the immeasurable impact of Dr. Sabin’s polio vaccine and the work of Rotary International. The Polio Plus Program was launched by Rotary International in 1985, and is the largest private sector support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. As Mr. Cook said, “This statue symbolizes the 20-year commitment of countless Rotary members who are making their vision a reality and the world healthier for millions of children.” Built in 2001, the seven foot tall, eight-hundred pound sculpture depicts a Rotarian vaccinating an infant while two children await their turns. The sculpture is located near the emergency department entrance and the clock tower at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: The Rotary Polio Plus Sculpture
The book The Polio Paradox: Uncovering the Hidden History of Polio to Understand and Treat “Post-Polio Syndrome” and Chronic Fatigue by Richard L. Bruno, H.D., Ph.D., has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I thought it would be interesting to tell you a bit about his discussion of Sabin, particularly because Dr. Bruno used the Sabin archives when he was researching this book.
For your information, Dr. Richard L. Bruno is the director of the Post-Polio Institute and the International Centre for Polio Education. He is known as an expert on Post-Polio Sequelae and has written several books and articles on the topic. His book tries to help people understand “Post-Polio Syndrome,” which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a cluster of potentially disabling signs and symptoms that appear decades — an average of 30 to 40 years — after the initial polio illness.” Continue reading The Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project: Sabin and Summer Grippe