Tuesday, January 31, 2023

In writing about Heroes in the Time of Polio, Rabbi Hoffman mentions Dr. Jonas Salk, the discoverer of the polio vaccine. I think R. Hoffman should have listed Dr. Salk as a third hero in the time of polio: Dr. Salk expressed no interest in profiting from the vaccine. Indeed, even as attorneys from Salk’s institute, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, were looking into patents, Salk was already disseminating to the major pharmaceutical companies the information necessary to produce the vaccine. (He reportedly explained his actions by saying that “One cannot patent the Sun,” although the source for that statement is not clear.)

David Eisenman
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