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Polio vaccine, London, England, 1994

This vaccine, which was made by The Wellcome Foundation Ltd, is used to protect against polio. The liquid vaccine can either be dropped on to the back of the tongue or swallowed on a sugar lump – a real life example of the old saying “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. This vaccine is known as a Sabin vaccine, named after its inventor, the American bacteriologist Albert Sabin (1906-1993). He developed the vaccine in the 1950s. Sabin’s vaccine was seen as a safer alternative to the previous Salk polio vaccine. It was also easier to administer than the Salk version, which required an injection.

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Glossary: polio

An infectious disease affecting the central nervous system. Affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the polio virus enters the blood stream.

Glossary: vaccine

A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.