The American researcher and virologist joined a team working on a vaccine against polio in 1942 at University of Michigan School of Public Health. Salk began preliminary testing of the polio vaccine in year 1952.

Salk was able to identify three different polio viruses enabling him to develop a virus vaccine to combat the disease. In order to develop the vaccine, the scientist first grew and then destroyed polio viruses.

It was on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared a success and Salk, a miracle worker. Prior to the introduction of his vaccine, polio was second to the atomic bomb as the greatest fear the American public harboured.

The best known victim of polio prior to the introduction of the Salk vaccine was US President Franklin D Roosevelt who was quite instrumental in funding the development of the vaccine.