New Version of the Polio Vaccine Could Lead to the Disease’s Elimination
First developed in 1955, the polio vaccine has done more than its fair share to help eliminate the disease entirely, however, complete abolition has yet to be achieved, due primarily to the anti-vaxxer movement, as well as Islamic fundamentalist opposition to modern medicine. But there’s another technical challenge that researchers believe they may have found a solution to; stabilization.
“Stabilization is not rocket science, so most academics don’t pay much attention to this field,” study author Woo-Jin Shin of USC said. “However, no matter how wonderful a drug or vaccine is, if it isn’t stable enough to be transported, it doesn’t do anyone much good.” Adopting a technique already utilized to effectively store and transport vaccines for measles and typhoid, Shin was able to stabilize the polio vaccine through a freeze-drying method that now allows it to be stored for up to four weeks a room temperature. While there are only 22 cases of polio worldwide, according to IFLScience.com, the real benefit of Shin’s research may not be fully realized until it’s applied to “freeze-drying other tricky vaccines or medicines.”