Will a new VLP-based polio vaccine help rid the world of the disease once and for all?
Maryam Mahdi |
CPI – a member of the UK government's High Value Manufacturing Catapult – is collaborating with the University of Leeds, UK, to develop a low-cost, scalable manufacturing process for a non-infectious, stable vaccine against polio. Developed using virus-like particles (VLP), the vaccine is intended to improve the safety and accessibility of treatment, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
Since the introduction of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, cases of polio have plummeted by 99 percent – with the oral polio vaccine (OPV) playing a key role in facilitating large-scale immunization. But despite success with OPV, it suffers a number of drawbacks; firstly, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase enzyme that is responsible for making copies of the PV genomic RNA is error-prone. “In rare cases, use of the OPV can, therefore, cause disease in vaccine recipients or their close contacts. In situations of low vaccine coverage, this can lead to localized outbreaks,” says Natasha Lethbridge, Project Manager, CPI.
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