New Oral Vaccine May Eradicate Polio In 3 Years
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27 October 2010
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
A single oral vaccine that protects against two deadly strains of polio – P1 and P3 – could eradicate the crippling disease from the world in the next three years.
Scientific analysis of the vaccine – bivalent oral polio vaccine (BOPV), presently being used in India and Nigeria, two of the world’s poliovirus hotspots, has found that it induced a significantly higher immune response – 30% more than other trivalent or monovalent vaccines.
Publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal "The Lancet", Nigel Crawford and Jim Buttery, researchers at Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said the effectiveness of the new vaccine was already evident in India, which has recorded only 32 cases so far this year as compared to 260 in 2009.
World Health Organization’s Dr Bruce Aylward says scientists are more optimistic today, thanks to the study. "There’s been the largest ever year–to–year drop in polio cases following the use of BOPV," he said.
Nigeria has seen a 98% drop in polio cases from over 400 cases this time last year to just nine so far in 2010. India, too, has seen a 90% drop during the same period.
The scientists – in their study conducted between August and December 2008 –analysed data from 830 newborn babies from three centres in India. The infants received either the monovalent, bivalent or trivalent vaccines in two doses – once at birth, and the other after 30 days. Blood samples were then taken at different stages of the vaccination to measure the rise in antibody levels.
The findings showed the superiority of BOPV compared with TOPV. India launched BOPV in January.