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Albert Bruce Sabin, MD

Born: August 26, 1906
Died: March 3, 1993

Major Contribution:

Albert Sabin developed the widely-used, oral, attenuated ("live") poliovirus vaccine (OPV). A form of the oral attenuated vaccine is used today in the worldwide effort to eradicate acute poliomyelitis. However, some countries including the United States, recommend the IPV (inactivated polio vaccine).

Other Information:

Brief Biography: Albert Bruce Sabin was born in Bialystok, Poland. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1921 when he was 14. He studied at New York University and graduated in 1928. Honoring family wishes, he studied dentistry before becoming captivated by medical research. He was awarded an MD degree in 1931, trained at Bellevue Hospital and the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, and returned to New York in 1935. He joined the joined the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (RIMR) as a research assistant and became an associate of the Institute in 1937.

In 1939, Sabin accepted a position as associate professor at the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation at the University of Cincinnati, where he developed its Department of Virology and Microbiology and he did his work on the oral polio vaccine. 

In 1958 and 1959, the vaccine was tested in millions of people in the former Soviet Union. Approved for use in late 1960 and licensed in the US in 1962, the oral vaccine became the polio vaccine of choice for its ease of delivery (a sugar cube or syrup) and for being harmlessly transmittable and for also conferring immunity to close contacts.

During World War II he was a consultant to the Army on viral diseases, such as dengue fever and encephalitis. He also studied the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis.

Location of Papers:
Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives
Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions
Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library
University of Cincinnati Libraries
Cincinnati, Ohio
Doris A. Haag, Director

The Rockefeller Archive Center has a small collection of Dr. Sabin’s papers. At the end of the war he returned to the University of Cincinnati to continue his work on the attenuated vaccine. By then, 1954, the Salk vaccine (killed and injectable) had been developed and it was decided that the major trials of the Sabin vaccine be done abroad. However, a trail was conducted on 180,000 school children in Cincinnati.

Rockefeller Archive Center
15 Dayton Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, New York 10591

The Sabin Vaccine Institute has a small archival collection, including an unpublished manuscript written by Dr. Alexander Smorodintsev, about Dr. Sabin’s collaboration with Soviet scientists to run vaccine trials in the Soviet Union.

The New York University Archives, where Dr. Sabin earned his M.D. degree, has a file on him, including photographs and newspaper clippings.

New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 10th Floor
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Major Articles: Albert Bruce Sabin, MD

Articles found at HighWire Press® Stanford University (*Asterisk denotes article is free of subscription fee.)

Landmark Article Aug 6, 1960: Live, Orally Given Poliovirus Vaccine. Effects Of Rapid Mass Immunization On Population Under Conditions Of Massive Enteric Infection With Other Viruses. By A. B. Sabin, M. Ramos-Alvarez, J. Alvarez-Amezquita, W. Pelon, R. H. Michaels, I. Spigland, M. A. Koch, J. M. Barnes, and J. S. Rhim. JAMA, Jun 1984; 251: 2988.

Paralytic Syndromes Associated With Noninflammatory Cytoplasmic Or Nuclear Neuronopathy. Acute Paralytic Disease In Mexican Children, Neuropathologically Distinguishable From Landry-Guillain-Barre Syndrome M. Ramos-Alvarez, L. Bessudo, and A. B. Sabin. JAMA, Feb 1969; 207: 1481.

Poliomyelitis Virus Of Low Virulence In Patients With Epidemic "Summer Grippe Or Sore Throat." Albert B. Sabin And Alex J. Steigman. Am. J. Epidemiol., Mar 1949; 49: 176 - 193.

Paralytic Consequences Of Poliomyelitis Infection In Different Parts Of The World And In Different Population Groups.* Albert B. Sabin. Am J Public Health, Oct 1951; 41: 1215 - 1230.

Residual Paralytic Poliomyelitis In A Tropical Region Of Brazil, 1969–1977: Prevalence Surveys In Different Age Groups As Indicators Of Changing Incidence. Albert B. Sabin and Ernesto Silva. Am. J. Epidemiol., Feb 1983; 117: 193 - 200.

Experiments On The Purification And Concentration Of The Virus Of Poliomyelitis.* Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Sep 1932; 56: 307 - 317.

Vitamin C In Relation To Experimental Poliomyelitis: With Incidental Observations On Certain Manifestations In Macacus Rhesus Monkeys On A Scorbutic Diet.* Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Apr 1939; 69: 507 - 516.

Nature Of Non-Paralytic And Transitory Paralytic Poliomyelitis In Rhesus Monkeys Inoculated With Human Virus.* Albert B. Sabin and Robert Ward. J. Exp. Med., Jun 1941; 73: 757 - 770.

The Natural History Of Human Poliomyelitis: I. Distribution Of Virus In Nervous And Non-Nervous Tissues.* Albert B. Sabin and Robert Ward. J. Exp. Med., Jun 1941; 73: 771 - 793.

The Natural History Of Experimental Poliomyelitis Infection: I. Studies On The Centrifugal Spread And Elimination Of Virus In Intrasciatically Inoculated Rhesus Monkeys.* Albert B. Sabin and Robert Ward. J. Exp. Med., Jan 1942; 75: 107 - 117.

The Natural History Of Human Poliomyelitis: Ii. Elimination Of The Virus.* Albert B. Sabin And Robert Ward. J. Exp. Med., Dec 1941; 74: 519 - 529.

Antibody Response Of Patients With Poliomyelitis To Virus Recovered From Their Own Alimentary Tract.* Alex J. Steigman And Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Sep 1949; 90: 349 - 372.

Levels Of Homotypic Neutralizing Antibody In Human Poliomyelitis Three Years After Infection.* Johan Winsser And Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Oct 1952; 96: 477 - 490.

Development, Persistence, And Significance Of Type 2, Poliomyelitis Complement-Fixing Antibody In Man.* Jordi Casals, Peter K. Olitsky, And Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Jul 1952; 96: 35 - 53.

Homotypic Complement-Fixing Antibody In Monkeys Infected With Type 2 Poliomyelitis Virus By The Oral Route.* Jordi Casals, Peter K. Olitsky, And Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Jul 1952; 96: 55 - 58.

Transitory Appearance Of Type 2 Neutralizing Antibody In Patients Infected With Type 1 Poliomyelitis Virus.* Albert B. Sabin. J. Exp. Med., Jul 1952; 96: 99 - 106.

Studies On Variants Of Poliomyelitis Virus: I. Experimental Segregation And Properties Of Avirulent Variants Of Three Immunologic Types.* Albert B. Sabin, Walter A. Hennessen, And Johan Winsser. J. Exp. Med., Jun 1954; 99: 551 - 576.

Oral Poliovirus Vaccine: Recent Results And Recommendations For Optimum Use. Albert B. Sabin. The Journal Of The Royal Society For The Promotion Of Health, Mar 1962; 82: 51 - 59.

Antipoliomyelitic Activity of Human and Bovine Colostrum and Milk. Albert B. Sabin And A. Howard Fieldsteel. Pediatrics, Jan 1962; 29: 105 - 115.

Effect Of Oral Poliovirus Vaccine In Newborn Children: I. Excretion Of Virus After Ingestion Of Large Doses Of Type I Or Of Mixture Of All Three Types, In Relation To Level Of Placentally Transmitted Antibody. Albert B. Sabin, Richard H. Michaels, Saul Krugman, Marvin E. Eiger, Peter H. Berman, and Joel Warren. Pediatrics, Apr 1963; 31: 623 – 640.

Effect Of Oral Poliovirus Vaccine In Newborn Children: Ii. Intestinal Resistance And Antibody Response At 6 Months In Children Fed Type I Vaccine At Birth. Albert B. Sabin, Richard H. Michaels, Philip Ziring, Saul Krugman, And Joel Warren. Pediatrics, Apr 1963; 31: 641 – 650.

My Last Will and Testament on Rapid Elimination and Ultimate Global Eradication of Poliomyelitis and Measles. Albert B. Sabin. Pediatrics, Jul 1992; 90: 162 - 169.

Improbability of Effective Vaccination Against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Because of Its Intracellular. Transmission and Rectal Portal of Entry.* AB Sabin. PNAS, Sep 1992; 89: 8852.

Poliomyelitis In A Laboratory Worker Exposed To The Virus. Albert B. Sabin and Robert Ward. Science, Aug 1941; 94: 113 - 114.

Insects And Epidemiology Of Poliomyelitis. Albert B. Sabin And Robert Ward. Science, Mar 1942; 95: 300 - 301.

Further Consideration Of A Suggested Simple Laboratory Test For Poliomyelitis Virus. Pierre R. Lepine, Alex J. Steigman, And Albert B. Sabin. Science, Jan 1949; 109: 17.

Poliomyelitis. Papers And Discussions Presented At The Second International Poliomyelitis Conference. Philadelphia-London: Lippincott, 1952. 555 Pp. Illus. Albert B. Sabin. Science, Apr 1953; 117: 434 - 435.

Noncytopathogenic Variants Of Poliomyelitis Viruses And Resistance To Superinfection In Tissue Culture. Albert B. Sabin. Science, Aug 1954; 120: 357.

Pathogenesis Of Poliomyelitis Reappraisal In The Light Of New Data. Albert B. Sabin. Science, Jun 1956; 123: 1151 - 1157.

Priorities in Research. AB Sabin Science, Mar 1993; 259: 1521. 

Articles Found at ScienceDirect.com

Transmission of poliomyelitis virus: Analysis of differing interpretations and concepts practical implications. Albert B. Sabin. The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 39, Issue 5, November 1951, Pages 519-531.

Neurotropic Virus Diseases Of Man. Albert B. Sabin. The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 19, Issue 4, October 1941, Pages 445-451

Articles found at JSTOR

Reviewed Work(s): Scientists in Search of Their Conscience by Anthony R. Michaelis; Hugh Harvey.. Author(s) of Review: Daniel J. Kevles. Isis > Vol. 66, No. 1 (Mar., 1975), pp. 112-113. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-1753%28197503%2966%3A1%3C112%3ASIS...

Vaccine Diplomacy. Peter J. Hotez . Foreign Policy > No. 124 (May, 2001), pp. 68-69. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0015-7228%28200105%2F06%290%3A124%3C68%...

Reviewed Work(s): Vaccines 97: Molecular Approaches to the Control of Infectious Diseases.  Fred Brown; Dennis Burton; Peter Doherty; John Mekalanos; Erling Norrby. Author(s) of Review: Pierce Gardner. The Quarterly Review of Biology > Vol. 73, No. 3 (Sep., 1998), pp. 391-392. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0033-5770%28199809%2973%3A3%3C391%3AV9M...

Socio-Economic Status and Participation in the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Trial. Leila Calhoun Deasy. American Sociological Review > Vol. 21, No. 2 (Apr., 1956), pp. 185-191. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1224%28195604%2921%3A2%3C185%3ASSA...

Appointments at the University of Cincinnati. The American Naturalist > Vol. 80, No. 789 (Feb., 1946), p. 203. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0147%2819460215%2980%3A789%3C203%3...

The Miracle of Vaccination. Donald A. Henderson. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London > Vol. 51, No. 2 (Jul., 1997), pp. 235-245. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0035-9149%28199707%2951%3A2%3C235%3ATMO...

Sticking a Needle into Science: The Case of Polio Vaccines and the Origin of AIDS. Brian Martin. Social Studies of Science > Vol. 26, No. 2, Special Issue on 'The Politics of SSK: Neutrality, Commitment and beyond' (May, 1996), pp. 245-276. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0306-3127%28199605%2926%3A2%3C245%3ASAN...

Mass-Scale Immunization with Live Polio Vaccine and the Prospects for Poliomyelitis Eradication in the USSR. M. P. Chumakov; M. K. Voroshilova; S. G. Dzagurov; V. A. Lashkevich; L. L. Mironova; N. M. Ralph; K. M. Sinyak; E. N. Bartoshevich; K. A. Vasilyeva; A. V. Gagarina; V. P. Grachev; V. I. Zhevandrova; G. P. Taranova; G. A. Koroleva; P. A. Kukain; I. A. Robinzon; A. V. Tyufanov; L. B. Elbert. BioScience > Vol. 14, No. 12 (Dec., 1964), pp. 48-52. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0006-3568%28196412%2914%3A12%3C48%3AMIW...

From PubMed (a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health)

Further Consideration of a Suggested Simple Laboratory Test for Poliomyelitis Virus. Lepine PR, Steigman AJ, Sabin AB. Science. 1949 Jan 7;109(2819):17. No abstract available.

Articles from WorldCat

Albert B. Sabin (1906-1993). H Koprowski. Nature, 1993 Apr 8; 362(6420): 499.

Opening Remarks: On Post-Polio Syndrome and In Honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin. Marinos C Dalaka.s Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 753, (1995): XI. Publisher: New York, New York Academy of Sciences.

Albert B. Sabin: The Development Of An Oral Vaccine Against Poliomyelitis. Angela Matysiak. Thesis/dissertation/manuscript: Archival Material. 2005. Located at George Washington University, Washington, DC; National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD.

Albert B. Sabin and the Development of Oral Polio Vaccine. Florian Horaud. Biologicals, 21, no. 4 (1993): 311-316. Academic Press.

Albert B. Sabin. JL Melnick; F Horaud. Journal of the International Association of Biological Standardization, 1993 Dec; 21(4): 297-303.

Albert B. Sabin. Joseph Melnick, Florian Horaud. Biologicals, 21, no. 4 (1993): 299-303. Publisher: Academic Press.

The Global Vaccine Shortage : The Threat To Children And What To Do About It. Proceedings of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute Ninth Annual Vaccine Colloquium at Cold Spring Harbor, New York : 23-25 October 2002. Nancy Tomich; Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute. New Canaan, CT:  (c)2003. Located at Oliver Ocasek Regional Medical Information Center Rootstown, OH.

Albert B. Sabin is convocation speaker. The Journal of the American College of Dentists, 1976 Oct; 43(4): 206.

Centenario del natalicio del Dr. Albert B. Sabin. Saldias G E. Language: Spanish. Publication: Revista chilena de infectologia :organo oficial de la Sociedad Chilena de Infectologia, 2006 Dec; 23(4): 368-9.

In memoriam: Albert B. Sabin, M.D., 1906-1993. B Newsom. Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association (1975) 1993 Jun; 89(6): 311.

Viruses and Cancer; a public lecture in conversational style. Albert B Sabin. London, (c)1965. Located at UCLA Library Los Angeles, CA; Duke University, Medical Center Library, Durham, NC; University of Virginia Libraries, Charlottesville, VA; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; University of Florida Gainesville, FL; Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Cambridge; Adelaide University, Adelaide Sa, 5005 Australia.

Polio Vaccines hearings before the United States House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, Subcommittee on Health and Safety, Eighty-Seventh Congress, first session, on Mar. 16, 17, 1961. United States. Congress. House.  Microform: Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1961. Located at University of Minnesota, Law Library, Minneapolis, MN; University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX; University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 1; New York University Law School Library, New York, NY .

Siena : la città laboratorio : [dall'innesto del vajuolo ad Albert Sabin]. Francesca Vannozzi. Siena : Protagon editori toscani per Santa Maria della Scala, 1999. Located at University of Chicago,Chicago, IL; National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA; Wellcome Library, London, NW1 2BE United Kingdom.

Medicine and the media: polio still paralyses (Albert Sabin, Jonas Salk). B Dixon. British Journal Of Hospital Medicine, 1977 Dec; 18(6): 595.

The Final Chapter: The Story Of Polio and the Researches of Dr. Albert B. Sabin. Cincinnati. 1960. No libraries listed.

References from Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky New York: Oxford University Press. 2005:

Sabin, A. B. and P. K. Olitsky. Cultivation of poliovirus in vitro in human embryonic tissue. Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biological Medicine, vol. 34, 1936, 357–59.

Sabin, A. B., P.K. Olitsky, and H. R. Cox. Protective Action of Certain Chemicals Against Infection of Monkeys with Nasally Instilled Poliomyelitis Virus. Journal of Experimental Medicine, vol. 63, 193.

Albert Sabin and Arthur Wright. Acute Ascending Myelitis Following a Monkey Bite, With the Isolation of a Virus Capable of Reproducing the Disease. Journal of Experimental Medicine, vol. 59, 1933, 115–17.

Albert Sabin, Problems in the Epidemiology of Poliomyelitis At Home and Among Our Armed Forces.  Paper presented at the Rocky Mountain Conference on Infantile Paralysis, December 1946. Not An Article

Sabin, Albert. The Epidemiology of Poliomyelitis. JAMA, vol. 134, 1947, 750.

Albert Sabin. Oral Poliovirus Vaccine. Journal of the American Medical Association, November 22, 1965, 874.

Albert B. Sabin. Behavior of Chimpanzee—a Virulent Poliomyelitis in Experimentally Infected Human Volunteers. American Journal of Medical Science, July 1955, 1–8.

Sabin obituary, New York Times, March 4, 1993. “Albert Sabin, 86, Polio Researcher Dies,” New York Times, March 4, 1993.

References from the book, Patenting The Sun by Jane Smith:

Albert Sabin, testimony, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, The Causes, Control, and Remedies of the Principal Diseases of Mankind.1953, 83rd Congress, Washington, DC.

Saul Benison, International Medical Cooperation: Dr. Albert Sabin, Live Poliovirus Vaccine and the Soviets. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1982, 473.

Multimedia Resources:

Dr. Albert Sabin: interview. (sound recording: cassette) 1976. Albert B Sabin; Betty Lewis; Robert Foster Lewis; Lewis Audiovisual Research Institute and Teaching Archive. Publisher: Tucson, AZ : Larita Institute. No libraries listed.

War against polio. (video recording: VHS tape) 1977. London : BBC. Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center Cincinnati, OH. Dr. Sabin interview. (video recording: VHS tape) 1983. Cable News Network. Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center Cincinnati, OH .

[Albert Sabin news clips]. (video recording: VHS tape) 1983-1984. Columbia Broadcasting System, inc.; American Broadcasting Company.Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center Cincinnati, OH.

History of Poliomyelitis: Lecture at University of Louisville. (video recording: VHS tape) 1985. University of Louisville. Kentucky. Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center Cincinnati, OH.

The Conquest Of Polio History And Unfinished Business. (video recording: cassette) 1985. William H Knisley; University of Oklahoma. College of Medicine. History of Medicine Dept.; Media Productions.; University of Oklahoma. Health Sciences Center.

Strategy For The Rapid Simultaneous Elimination Of Polio, Measles, Diphtheria, Pertussis And Tetanus From Developing Countries. (video recording: cassette) 1985. Albert B Sabin; University of Cincinnati. College of Medicine. Biomedical Communications. Cincinnati, OH. No libraries listed.

The Benefactor Dr. Albert Sabin. (video recording: VHS tape) 1989. James Culp; WLWT TV 5 Multimedia Broadcasting .Cincinnati, OH : WLW Special Projects Production. Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center.

1987: 25th Anniversary Oral Polio Vaccine. (video recording: VHS tape) 1987. Lederle Laboratories.; March of Dimes Defects Found.; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (U.S.) Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center. 

Interview with Albert B. Sabin. ( interviews, archival: sound recording: non-music) Albert B Sabin; Betty Jessel Lewis; Robert Foster Lewis. Located at New York Public Library - Research, New York, NY .

Albert B. Sabin, MD: A Life in Science. (video recording: VHS tape) 1993. Arthur Zitrin; New York University. School of Medicine. 1993. Located at National Library of Medicine. Bethesda, MD; New York University, School of Medical, New York, NY.

Qualita' della vita Quality of life. (video recording: VHS tape) 1992. Enzo Biagio; Centro di Produzione TV di Milano. Located at University of Cincinnati, Medical Center Cincinnati, OH .


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