In 1910, when the Rockefeller Hospital opened, the time seemed right to find a cure for poliomyelitis by combining clinical observation with laboratory research. A team of three physicians—Francis W. Peabody, George Draper, and Alphonse R. Dochez —was assembled to study the disease. They focused on ways to make an early diagnosis of white blood cell count and changes in the cerebrospinal fluid. They also carried out some animal studies, investigating whether serum from polio patients could protect monkeys from the virus. Ultimately, however, they were unable at the time to shed much light on the underlying biology of polio through laboratory investigation.

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