JAN 02, 2016 4:40 PM PST

Scientists Are Planning For a World Free of Polio

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Polio is close to being eradicated, and once it is, scientists want to keep it that way. The live attenuated polio vaccines very rarely result in causing a more dangerous disease as opposed to prepping the body to fight off a true infection. However, scientists are looking to modify the vaccines to cut off all risk of the infection ever coming back.

In the worst cases of polio, the virus spreads to the nervous system and causes paralysis (WHO). Prevention with immunization is the only option to avoid polio; there is no cure.
In the 1950s, the Iron Lung machines seen in this photo helped people breathe when polio virus killed their lung muscle cells

In a new study published in PLOS Pathogens, scientists from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in the United Kingdom researched safer strains of polio virus to use in vaccines that are just as effective as the current strains. Currently, vaccine producers use a virulent wild-type strain.

The team made genetic modifications to the viral RNA to weaken the virus and prevent the strains from relapsing back to a virulent state without disrupting the virus’ ability to vaccinate a host.

"We have developed new strains for IPV production with negligible risk to the human population should they escape,” the team said in summary of their research.

Source: PLOS
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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