MIT scientists develop single-injection vaccine for polio virus


New York: A group of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a new nanoparticle vaccine that could assist efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

The novel vaccine which delivers multiple doses in just one injection could prevent the paralysis caused by the poliovirus. The vaccine could make it easier to immunise children in remote regions of Pakistan and other countries where the disease is still found.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, although the number of reported cases of polio dropped by 99 per cent worldwide between 1988 and 2013, the disease has not been completely eradicated because of the difficulty in reaching out to children in remote areas.

“When a one-shot vaccine can elicit full protection, it could be very valuable in being able to achieve eradication,” said Ana Jaklenec, a research scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Cambridge, US.

In the study, the investigators developed nanoparticles that would deliver an initial burst of the vaccine at the time of injection, followed by a second release after approximately 25 days.

The researchers injected the developed nanoparticles into rats and later obtained blood samples, finding that the samples had a similar or superior antibody response to the poliovirus as samples obtained from mice given two doses of the Salk vaccine.

“The goal is to ensure that everyone globally is immunised,” said Jaklenec, adding “children in some of these hard-to-reach developing world locations tend to not get the full series of shots necessary for protection.”

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