Dr. Albert Sabin
Many heroes in books or myths have superpowers, but my hero, Albert Bruce Sabin, was much more than that. He confronted the global poliomyelitis epidemic that was crippling thousands of the world's children. He was known as a kind, intelligent man and friend to many people. I look up to him, and strive to push myself as he did.
First of all, he was born in Bialystok, Poland on August 26, 1906 to Jacob and Tillie Saperstein. He immigrated to America in 1921.At age 24 Albert Bruce Saperstein became a naturalized citizen of the U.S.and changed his last name to Sabin. He became interested in medical science and went to New York University to receive a medical degree in 1931. He trained at Bellevue Hospital in medicine, pathology and surgery. He studied virology at Rockefeller Institute before he joined the Department of pediatrics at Cincinnati. In Cincinnati he did his famous research.
Albert Sabin is best known for creating the oral vaccine for polio. Polio was a feared disease that crippled, and paralyzed thousands of people a year. Polio, in extreme cases polio paralyzed the breathing muscles and killed the victim. Many people died this way, so parents were so fearful of their children catching polio, they kept them inside during the summer and never let them go to crowded places. One of our presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had this disease and was crippled in his legs. Dr. Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine in 1955. The Sabin vaccine is easier to give to the patient and the immunization effects are longer than the Salk vaccine. It is administered by drops or on a sugar cube. Jonas Salk had also created polio vaccine, but his was harder to administer, more expensive and did not have as long of immunization. The Salk vaccine eliminated polio from the U.S. so Dr. Sabin went to test his medicine on the Russian children during the Cold War.
In 1970, the president of the United States presented Dr. Sabin with the Medal of Science. The caption on the plaque read, "For numerous fundamental contributions to the understanding of viruses and viral diseases, culminating in the development of the vaccine which has eliminated poliomyelitis as a major threat to human health." As proof of his lifelong dedication to the medical science, he was buried in Arlington National cemetery.
"The Sabin Institute could not be started until he died," Dr. Sabin said. After he died on March 3, 1993, a big admirer of Sabin got permission of Mrs. Sabin to start the institute. It is called the Sabin Institute. Today it works on giving vaccines for polio, rubella, pneumonia, and rotavirus and developing new vaccines to prevent hookworm and other infectious diseases. These are all vicious diseases, which still take lives. The Sabin institute is a non- profit organization that has saved many lives through its work.
Not only did Albert Sabin save the lives of numerous children around the world when he lived, but his work continues through the Sabin Institute which preserves his memory of life long dedication. Growing up he experienced discrimination because of his race and religion, but he found the courage to push through it all to become a legacy in the medical world. Throughout my life I will always look up to him as a hero.