This post was first published on 31st October, 2014.
Some people work towards finding solutions to a better way of life, round the clock. The youth of today is independent, confident and progressive. The world feels like a wonderful place to live in. But we wouldn’t have been able to “stand on our own legs”, literally, if not for a wonderful human being called Dr. Jonas Salk. October 28, 2014, on the day we celebrate as the birth centenary of the man who made billions of kids stand on their own legs, a small tribute to the great soul will be given by narrating the story of how, not owning a patent saved millions of lives and still counting!
Polio or Poliomyelitis is an infectious viral disease which generally affects young children and spreads mainly through faecal-oral contact. Caused by the Polio Virus, it infects the brain and cripples the child leaving limbs paralyzed, among other things. During the mid 1900s, there was nothing more deadly in the United States than the rampant Polio epidemic. When Dr. Salk was appointed as the Director of the Virus Research Laboratory at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, he was determined to find a vaccine to rid the world of the Polio menace. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis funded the project taken up by Dr. Salk and field trials were set up on a massive scale. When the vaccine was finally found out to be successful, Dr. Salk became the saviour of the world. When asked about the patent on the Polio vaccine, Dr. Salk politely stated, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”, owing to the global necessity and vitality of the vaccine.
We live in a competitive world where everything comes with a price tag and everything is sought to be commercialized. There are so many hue and cries about the essential drugs being made available to the public at affordable price. The incentive theory says that Intellectual Property protection acts as an incentive to promote invention. But such philanthropic acts scream and reach out to the world that no one can own what belongs to the whole of mankind.
Had Salk obtained a patent over his epic invention, he would have made a whopping US$ 7 Billion out of just one invention. Instead, he decided to let it be in the public domain. No wonder he is called the “Father of Biophilosophy”. Salute to such an altruistic soul. #Respect#
Happy Birthday Dr. Salk, and Thank You!
Image: from here