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 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.