Monday December 10, 2018

India introduces injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine

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By Nithin Sridhar

Health Minister JP Nadda launched India’s first injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) on Monday. This marks the beginning of the shift from purely orally administered polio-vaccines or Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) to a combination of dosages of OPV’s and IPV’s.

This is indeed a welcome move in the global fight against polio eradication.

One of the major disadvantages of OPV usage is that there is a chance that it leads to vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP). Studies have shown that one child out of every 2.4 million dosages of OPVs administered will suffer from VAPP.

This disadvantage can be overcome by the administration of IPV dosages. IPV was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955. IPVs consist of killed poliovirus strains (as against live attenuated polioviruses in OPVs) of all three poliovirus types which are then used as vaccines. Hence, they produce antibodies in the blood that provide immunity against all three poliovirus types resulting in protection against VAPPS as well. Further, IPVs are considered very safe and efficient and there are no major side-effects.

This is not to say that, IPVs have no disadvantage. For a long time, polio eradication programs were using OPVs alone because IPVs were observed to be weak in providing intestinal immunity. Hence, if a person immunized with IPV becomes infected with wild poliovirus, then the virus can still multiply inside the intestine and come out in the feces resulting in its continued circulation. But, a recent study shows that, when IPV is used in combination with OPV dosages, then IPVs will boost intestinal immunity.

Thus, World Health Organization (WHO) no longer recommends OPV alone vaccination against polio. It recommends usage of at least one dose of IPV in countries which is using OPV only vaccinations. In polio endemic countries, it recommends usage of 1 OPV birth dosage, 3 OPV dosages and 1 IPV dosage. In countries with high immunization cover and low chances of importation of wild polio viruses, but with a significant VAPP concern, WHO recommends an IPV–OPV sequential schedule. It recommends IPV only vaccination only in those countries which have low importation as well as transmission risks along with very high immunization coverage.

Hence, India’s move in introducing IPVs is in sync with WHO recommendations. This step will go a long way in preventing VAPP and ensuring complete polio eradication from the world.

(Photo: www.erewise.com)

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The World is Three Countries Away From Being Polio-Free: WHO

The wild polio virus is present in parts of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, which are under the control of Boko Haram militants.

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Polio, afghanistan
A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

As another World Polio Day comes around, the World Health Organization reports three polio endemic countries— Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — hold the key to the global eradication of this crippling disease.

About one-half million children were becoming paralyzed by polio every year when the World Health Organization began its global polio eradication campaign three decades ago. Today, that number has been reduced by more than 99 percent.

WHO reports fewer than 30 cases of the disease this year, many of them in countries that had been considered polio-free. Spokesman for the Polio Eradication Initiative Oliver Rosenbauer tells VOA outbreaks have occurred in Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Kenya and Papua New Guinea.

Polio
There’s an exciting new breakthrough in treating some types of deadly brain tumors, that uses, of all things, a polio virus. Doctors at Duke Health in North Carolina genetically altered the virus because it produces such a strong immune response in our bodies. Flickr

“This really, really underscores the risk that we have this disease — that it will continue to reappear, reemerge in areas that have already eradicated this disease. We see this time and again,” said Rosenbauer. “It is not the first time that we are facing new outbreaks again and we are confident, we know what it takes to stop these outbreaks again.”

Rosenbauer says these countries are implementing emergency measures to stop the outbreak. But, he warns the risk of the wild polio virus spreading across borders will continue until the disease is eradicated in the three endemic states of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

“These three countries hold the key to a polio-free world,” said Rosenbauer. “They have been battling this disease so very long, but they are making actually tremendous progress this year. Never before have we seen the disease in these countries at such low levels as we are today, this year.”

Polio
Widespread unrest in Afghanistan has kept thousands of children from receiving polio vaccines this year. Conflict in northern Nigeria does the same. VOA

Rosenbauer says Afghanistan and Pakistan have each reported six cases of this disease.

He says no cases of the paralytic disease have been detected in Nigeria. But that, he says, does not mean there are no new cases of the disease there.

Also Read: Ebola Not A Global Health Emergency: WHO

He notes the wild virus is present in parts of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, which are under the control of Boko Haram militants. This, he says makes it too dangerous for health workers to conduct disease surveillance to see whether the virus is circulating. (VOA)