News / Health

    Injectable Polio Vaccine to Complete Eradication

    A Pakistani health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on May 6, 2014.
    A Pakistani health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on May 6, 2014.
    Jessica Berman

    The old, injectable polio vaccine will now be the primary weapon in the global effort to eradicate the paralytic illness, polio, among children.  A new study finds the first vaccine to be developed against polio in the 1950s is the best for curtailing further spread.  

    Despite a concerted global eradication effort for more than 25 years by the World Health Organization, national governments and other groups, polio infection remains stubbornly persistent in a number of countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.  

    At one time, polio infected some 350,000 children per year worldwide.  Anti-polio efforts have eliminated 99 percent of the cases.  The goal is 100 percent eradication.

    The so-called Sabin vaccine, an oral medication developed by Albert Sabin, is made up of live, weakened virus that effectively protects children against polio.

    While the Sabin vaccine is cheap and easy to administer, there are drawbacks. The vaccine loses its effectiveness over time and it allows the virus to be shed in human waste to infect healthy children in endemic areas and across borders.  

    Now, a new study has found the Salk vaccine, the first immunization drug developed against polio by Jonas Salk, offered better protection than a second, booster dose of the oral medicine in a trial in northern India.

    The Salk vaccine, which is administered by injection, uses inactivated virus to stimulate an immune response against polio.  Its use dwindled in favor of the oral vaccine.

    In a telephone briefing with reporters, lead researcher Hamid Jafari, the director for polio operations and research with the World Health Organization, says the injectable Salk vaccine will now be used in place of the oral medication in regions where polio infection remains a public health problem.

    “It could play a major role in completing the job of polio eradication once and for all, both from the remaining endemic reservoirs and specific outbreak settings, securing a polio-free world once and for all," he said.

    Polio has been eliminated in India where a trial of the Salk vaccine was conducted in about 1,000 children who had been previously vaccinated with the oral vaccine.

    The research showed the Salk vaccine provided lasting intestinal immunity, to prevent the shedding of virus through the digestive track in infected children.  The study is published in the journal Science.

    WHO Coordinator for Research and Product Development, Polio Operations and Research Roland Sutter says the findings end a long-running debate about the most effective strategy to eradicate polio.

    “The answer is now very clear," he said. "Both vaccines complement one another and should be used to interrupt the final chains of transmission to attain a polio-free world in the most rapid and effective way possible.”

    Officials say the injectable vaccine would be particularly useful and provide lasting protection among children in remote areas that are difficult for public health workers to reach, including conflict zones.  It would also protect youngsters from cross-border infection in countries in which polio has been eradicated.  

    In addition, experts are recommending the Salk vaccine be given to travelers to prevent the international spread of polio in nations where it has been eradicated. 

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora