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October 26, 2010

New Polio vaccine could eradicate the disease

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by Brian Turner

Hopes that polio could be eradicated in the near future were boosted by recent trials of a new vaccine.

World Health Organisation (WHO) scientists reported in the medical journal, The Lancet, that in a study the so-called bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), preduced a more effective immune response in more people.

The new double-strain polio vaccine was found to be more effective than existing single and triple boost vaccines at countering the disease.

The study took place in India over 2008, with 820 people treated with one of three polio vaccines, including the new strain. Research showed that those treated with bOPV had a higher immune response than the other two vaccines.

According to Dr Bruce Aylward, Director of the Polio Eradication Initiative at the WHO, “We’ve seen big drops in the two most important countries that are left. In Nigeria a 98% drop in Polio cases, and in India, over a 90% drop.”

WHO scientist Roland Sutter added that this means that children in high-risk areas can be immunised against two key strains of the crippling virus, type 1 and type 3 poliovirus, with a single oral vaccine.

The new bOPV vaccine is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and Panacea Biotec of India, and will be used in a new campaign across 15 African nations starting this week.

The WHO launched its Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, and since then has seen the number of polio outbreaks reduced by 99%.

While previous vaccines have been effective so far, scientists are lauding the increased efficency by which they can use the new bOPV vaccine to speed up the campaign.

Story link: New Polio vaccine could eradicate the disease

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