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This Day in Georgia History

September 03, 1888

Thomas M. Rivers Born

Noted virologist Thomas M. Rivers was born in Jonesboro, Georgia. In the 1920s, his research established that viruses were different from bacteria, leading to the establishment of virology as a distinct area of scientific study. As a result of his pioneering studies, Rivers has been called the “father of modern virology.” From 1938 to 1955, he chaired the virus research committee of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (which became the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation). Rivers helped organized the research program that resulted in the Salk and Sabin vaccines against polio. Rivers died in New York City on May 12, 1962.