Developer of first oral polio vaccine
He was first to show vaccine was effective
PHILADELPHIA — Dr. Hilary Koprowski, the Polish-born researcher who developed the first successful oral vaccination for polio, died this week at his Philadelphia home. He was 96.
Although not as well-known as fellow researchers Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, Koprowski in 1950 became the first to show it was possible to vaccinate against polio, the crippling and sometimes fatal disease that’s now all but eradicated.
Koprowski’s son, Christopher, said Saturday his father liked the scientific recognition his work received without the celebrity of Salk and Sabin.
“He enjoyed not having his scientific work disrupted,” said Christopher Koprowski. “Not that he was a modest individual, mind you.”
Christopher Koprowski said his father had been sick for several months before dying Thursday in the same home he’d lived in since 1957.
Hilary Koprowski self-administered the live-virus oral vaccine he developed before the 1950 trial — about two years before Salk’s injectable version using a dead form of the virus began testing with the backing of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, now the March of Dimes.