In 1952 polio was one of the most feared viruses in the United States, affecting the lives of more than 15,000 people each year. Parents feared letting their children outside and quarantines were placed on neighborhoods. Even laboratory scientists feared working with the infectious virus. Yet this did not stop Marguerite Vogt. Vogt would often work long hours six days a week in the basement at California Institute of Technology. After persisting for a year, she and her mentor, Renato Dulbecco, published a method for purifying and counting poliovirus called a plaque assay. The 1954 publication opened the gates for microbiologist Alberto Sabin to develop a polio vaccination for use on a mass scale. It also created a way for other scientists to study poliovirus variants and a new field of science called molecular virology.

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