Friday, January 30, 2009

Bivalent Polio vaccine being tested

The world's first bivalent vaccine - that will protect children against both P1 and P3 strains of polio virus - is being tested in India.

Around 900 newborn children in Indore, Chennai and Pune have already been given two doses of the oral bivalent vaccine (BOPV). Bivalent vaccine can potentially play an important role in rapidly eliminating P3 virus and sustaining high level of immunity against P1.

Scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) want to see whether the bivalent vaccine, manufactured by Panacea, provides as much immunity to children as the present day vaccine of choice -- monovalent oral polio vaccine (MOPV). 

This is the vaccine's first study. In the trials, BOPV has to show atleast 90% efficacy for it to be considered. A child is being given the first dose of BOPV at birth and then again on the 30th day .
If found effective, it will  be tested  in other polio affected countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is one of the studies that are being conducted to optimise the use of polio vaccines to meet the challenges of the evolving epidemiologyof P1 and P3 polio viruses.    
    P1 accounted for 95% polio cases in the country till 2006. P1 causes paralysis in one out of every 200 children compared to P3, which causes paralysis in one out of every 1,000 infections. 
In 2008, India recorded 549 polio cases of which 68 were caused by the P1 strain and 481 were P3 infections. P1 is the most dangerous form of polio virus as it can cause huge outbreaks and travel long distances.

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