Scientists created a temperature-stable polio vaccine

29 November 2018

GMP News

Researchers from The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USA) have developed a polio vaccine that doesn’t require refrigeration.

The vaccine, which was freeze-dried into a powder, kept at room temperature for four weeks and then rehydrated, offered full protection against the polio virus when tested in mice. The study itself appeared appears in the journal mBio.

The biggest hitch to complete eradication has been creating a temperature-stable vaccine for use in developing countries where refrigeration may be unavailable. Recent polio cases have been reported in Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Syria and Pakistan. Polio is on the brink of complete eradication, with just 22 reported cases worldwide in 2017. The highly infectious disease, which causes lifelong paralysis and disability mostly in young children, is a fading memory in many places. Yet in countries where vaccination rates are spotty, young children are at risk.

By removing moisture through freeze-drying, researchers have created temperature-stable vaccines for measlestyphoid and meningococcal disease. But scientists haven’t been able to make a polio vaccine that retains potency through freeze-drying and rehydration.

The researchers used two lab techniques: liquid chromatography and high-throughput screening, that allowed them to analyze a high volume of ingredients and formulations until they found one that worked. The scientists hope that a foundation or company will take over the project to pay for human studies and bring the injectable vaccine onto the market.

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