New vaccine strategy could eradicate polio in Afghanistan, Pakistan

World Today

The polio virus is an infectious disease that once paralyzed a U.S. president, which was once widespread around the world. It’s been mostly eradicated except in two developing countries-Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But now, a new vaccination strategy could finally eliminate polio for good.

CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported.
Follow Hendrik Sybrandy on Twitter @hsybrandy

Injection vaccines, administered three times in a baby’s first year, have become almost a formality in most countries where polio is rare. Still doctors take no chances – these shots are still worth a few tears.

“We think we are very close to the eradication but to do that we needed new weapons and new strategies to finish the job,” Dr. Edwin Asturia, University of Colorado Center for Global Health said.

Asturias led a study in four Central American countries, showing a combination of an injectable vaccine and oral vaccine could protect up to 90 percent of children from polio.

This one-two punch is now being adopted in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only two countries where a handful of polio cases still surface each year.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt also had the disease, like Dr. Asturias said, polio was something people fear all the time.

Much of the world eventually managed to tame and conquer polio but complete eradication has been hard to achieve in some developing countries where children in rural areas are hard to reach.

Where injectable vaccines are expensive and even 10-15 doses of oral vaccine per child didn’t get the job done. Now there’s a chance to wipe out polio for good.

New vaccine strategy could eradicate polio

Polio vaccines are vaccines used to prevent poliomyelitis.

Elaine Reyes talked to Kathryn Jacobsen, Associate Professor of Epidemiology of Department of Global & Community Health George Mason University, on Polio vaccine.