A group of researchers have finally put an end to a decade old dispute between two polio vaccine making companies which claim their respective drug is more effective over each other.
According to the researchers, both the oral and inactivated polio vaccines are effective when combined together and not alone in preventing the paralyzing disease.
Neither of the vaccines was ideal enough to treat the paralyzing disease alone but they were found remarkably good together.
“The findings revolutionize our thinking about how to use polio vaccines optimally,” said lead researcher Hamid Jafari, director of polio operations and research at the World Health Organization (WHO).
The inactivated polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk (using killed polio virus) in the 1950s, while Albert Sabin developed the oral vaccine (using a weakened live virus) in the 1960s.
The efforts of eradicating the disease have been enhanced to a greater level in the recent years and this pitched voice has brought the two vaccines against each other.
According to the researchers, the children (involved in the study) were first vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine and then they received a boost of the Salk vaccine. The results showed that all the children reported lowest amount of virus in their feces. The viruses were excreted in a shorter interval of time in these children than those who had been given the oral vaccine and re-immunized with an additional dose of the same vaccine.
But the oral vaccines are widely used by the WHO to eradicate polio as being liquid they can be easily given to children. Besides, these vaccines are also cheap.
However, report shows regions, like northern India, where polio infections are very rampant, oral vaccines didn’t perform well in checking the disease. Researchers say the rates of infections remained high even when the children were immunized with the recommended three doses.
“The pressure of transmission was extremely high in the densely populated areas due to a high birth rate, high rates of diarrhea and poor sanitation,” said Jafari.
The study has been published in the journal Science.