DEC 31, 2015 04:14 PM PST

New Safe, Effective Polio Vaccine Strains

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
Researchers are preparing for a post-polio world.  Once polio is eradicated, the World Health Organization plans to replace live-attenuated vaccines with ones made from inactivated attenuated virus. This led researchers at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in the UK to design new safe and effective vaccine strains.
 
Efforts are being made to eradicate polio worldwide.

Currently, two types of polio vaccines are in use - a live-attenuated vaccine and an inactivated one.  The live-attenuated vaccine is made from a virus with mutations that make it less virulent.  However, this attenuated virus can survive in the guts of immunocompromised individuals, where it can accumulate mutations that make it more virulent.

The inactivated vaccine is made from virulent virus killed with formalin.  While these vaccines can’t spread live virus, the virus must still be grown in large quantities to produce the vaccine.  This means there is a risk that live, virulent polio virus could “escape” from a lab and spread through the population.  To curb this risk, Philip Minor and colleagues set out to design attenuated polio strains to be used for inactivated vaccines.  

These attenuated strains are based on the well-studied Sabin vaccine strain, but the capsid genes are modified, making them less likely to mutate into a virulent virus.  They grow well in tissue culture, do not cause significant disease in mice, and unlike the Sabin strain, they do not infect non-human primates. According to minor, “we have developed new strains for (vaccine) production with negligible risk to the human population should they escape”, which will “allow for safe vaccine production in the post-eradication world”.     
 

Sources: Eurekalert, PLOS Pathogens, WHO, Wikipedia
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
SEP 29, 2018
Microbiology
SEP 29, 2018
In a First, Rat Variation of Hepatitis E Found in a Person
It was found in a 56-year-old Hong Kong man....
OCT 05, 2018
Microbiology
OCT 05, 2018
Reducing Pollution with Engineered Bacteria
A varsity of creative strategies have been proposed as solutions to climate change, from practical to outlandish....
OCT 16, 2018
Microbiology
OCT 16, 2018
Simple Test Rapidly Diagnoses Antibiotic-resistant Infections
If we get a bacterial infection, doctors use antibiotics to treat it. But sometimes people are infected by pathogens that are resistant to drugs....
NOV 06, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 06, 2018
A Move to the US Significantly Changes a Person's Microbiome
A move to the United States is extremely disruptive to health of a person's gut microbial community, researchers have found....
NOV 15, 2018
Videos
NOV 15, 2018
A Season of Outbreaks
In a few different places around the world, people are facing disease outbreaks due to pathogenic microbes....
NOV 28, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 28, 2018
A Deadly Microbe Lurks on the Skin of Many People
There are some well-known bacterial pathogens that can present a major threat to health, but a lesser-known microbe may be just as big of a danger....
Loading Comments...