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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid