Salk Polio Vaccine, Saukett Strain

Jonas Salk first tested his polio vaccine on humans in July 1952 when he inoculated thirty children at the D. T. Watson Home for Crippled Children near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These children had already had polio, so Salk's test was designed to prove that his vaccine would create a higher level of immunity than a natural infection. Salk also tested his vaccine on residents of the Polk State Home and on himself and members of his laboratory staff.
This vial contains residue of polio vaccine from these first tests. The polio virus exists in hundreds of different strains, all of which fall into three major types. A complete vaccine must contain a strain from each of these three types. However, the children at the Watson Home received only one type of vaccine matching the strain of their original polio infection. This vial is labeled for the Saukett strain (Type III).
Currently not on view
Object Name
vaccine, polio
date made
Salk, Jonas E.
Physical Description
vaccine residue, polio virus (overall, drug ingredient)
glass (overall, container material)
overall: 5.4 cm x 2.5 cm; 2 1/8 in x in
overall: 2 1/8 in x 1 in; x 5.3975 cm x 2.54 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
National Treasures exhibit
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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