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12 noviembre 2014 3 12 /11 /noviembre /2014 18:25

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is using Australian technology in the battle against polio, which it says is still rampant in some countries.

A polio vaccine was developed decades ago but scientists said "wild polio" strains were still a major threat in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

New technology that removes the live virus from the vaccine production process could be the key to wiping out the disease for good, according to scientists.

Dr Natalie Connors from the University of Queensland has been working with the WHO on the issue.

"The wild strains have recently re-emerged in what would normally be a low transmission time of year and that's why they declared it an international emergency," she said.

"Basically they've seen an increase, which is very unusual, and they've put that down to a number of political and logistical issues, but in addition to this they're having these vaccine-derived strains as well."

Dr Connors has been working towards what she calls the next generation of vaccines.

She said the treatment was based on "virus-like particles" instead of the live virus.

"Virus-like particles are essentially the shell of the virus," she said.

"They are made from protein and they self-assemble into that shell and they contain no genetic material, so they're not infectious and quite safe."

The University of Queensland has worked on virus-like particle technology for about 10 years.

The research also covered vaccines for other infectious and chronic diseases like influenza and rotavirus.

Dr Connors said it was a long-term solution to keep health threats such as polio at bay.

"The live viruses are very effective but they can cause problems with circulating vaccine derived-strains in less developed countries, and so by eliminating the live virus element you're also eliminating the risk of re-spread," she said. 

Polio eradication 'a global health priority'

 

Dr Hiro Okayasu, who works in polio eradication at the WHO, said effective vaccines were crucial in the battle to wipe out the debilitating disease.

"Polio eradication is a global health priority and something that needs to be done quite quickly," he said.

"If we miss this opportunity then I think polio virus can start to spread in a different part of the world again, so I think this is rather showing our global urgency to eliminate this virus."

Dr Linda Lua, who worked with Dr Connors on the vaccine research, said the technology was affordable and effective.

"We designed a platform ... such that we can use a very simple production system to produce this vaccine very cheaply and scale it up very quickly, so we can generate millions of doses within days, instead of other technologies that probably would generate them in weeks or months," she said.

Dr Connors said the new technology would help improve the vaccines of the future.

"We've been using the same technology for a long time - we've being using the isolate, inactive regime that was developed nearly 200 years ago," she said.

"It seems strange with all the technology increases in every other part of human health endeavours that vaccines haven't made that leap as well, so I think vaccine-like particles will become quite important in the future."

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APPLAC APPLAC - en Polio

Applac

  • APPLAC
  • Siendo que tenemos muy presente como Organización Civil nuestra dirección en representar a las personas que padecen de secuela de polio y a sus familias, a los que ya padecen del Síndrome de Post Polio (SPP)
  • Siendo que tenemos muy presente como Organización Civil nuestra dirección en representar a las personas que padecen de secuela de polio y a sus familias, a los que ya padecen del Síndrome de Post Polio (SPP)

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