As some of you may know, I had the good fortune to work with Dr. Peter Salk MD in the launch of BeyondPolio. Our efforts were focused on driving collaborative innovation efforts toward better and lower cost delivery of IPV (injected Salk vaccines). IPV plays the central role in the developed world in maintaining eradication efforts, while the Sabin vaccine (OPV) is used in the remaining trouble spots in the world (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia and others), primarily because of its ease of administering. If you didn't know (and it makes some interesting reading), Salk and Sabin were rivals in their day and certainly not collaborating with each other.
Because of my involvement with the fight against polio, and my focus on collaboration and innovation, I was recently impressed when Peter Salk (son of polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk) came together with Deborah Sabin, BSN, FNP (daughter of Albert Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine) in this year’s Rose Parade on the Rotary Foundation's float.
The pair came together both to honor their fathers’ legacies and to announce their continued efforts to rid the world of polio with the continued support of Rotary.
While the Salk and Sabin vaccines were often seen as competing methods of treating the disease, we can see now that the successes of the last 50 years would not have been possible without both vaccines. Collaboration, not competition, is the ultimate result of the two scientists’ work.
Continuing the fight to eradicate polio is the top priority to both Peter Salk and Deborah Sabin, and they recognize the need for continued collaboration to reduce costs, increase availability, and overcome the obstacles that arise along the way.
We’ve learned that combined efforts and a collaborative spirit have been integral in the fight against polio up to this point, despite two “competing” vaccines, and all signs indicate that this lesson will remain true as work continues to end polio once and for all.