Dr. Salk was born in New York City and attended the NYU of Medicine. In 1948, he began his polio research, and the next seven years were spent in development of the vaccine. The field trials of the vaccine were a resounding success, thanks to the help of so many individuals. In order to inoculate 1,800,000 children, it required the assistance of over 300,000 doctors, school staff, and volunteers.
After the success of the trial had been announced, it became evident that this had been a truly humanitarian endeavor. A journalist inquired with Dr. Salk about patent ownership, to which he replied: "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies was founded in 1960 to further. True to their founder, they remain non-profit and independent.
Dr. Jonas Salk spent his last years working toward a vaccine for HIV before he died in 1995.