A new powdered polio vaccine with a novel storage method has been developed by scientists and a drug manufacturer, with the potential for resisting temperatures in some developing countries.
Nigeria and Pakistan, where the virus still circulates, are two examples of countries in dire need of an effective vaccine to prevent it. The downside of such vaccines which are ingested orally is that they have a potential to transform into the virus, as they carry a weakened live version of it.
Researchers are working on a version of the vaccine — inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) — which carries the dead virus and can be injected into a persons’ body.
However, the dead-strain version of the vaccine can’t withstand temperatures above or below 4C (39.2F).
The method for keeping the vaccine from getting spoiled is based on freezing the powder which allows for shipping to places where it was previously off limits due to temperature conditions.
"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," stated Woo-Jin Shin, from the University of California.
Scientists from the University, in collaboration with researchers from Integrity Bio, a drug manufacturer, developed a process for the removal of moisture from the IPVs without compromising its stability at ambient temperatures.
This method allows for storage of the vaccine at temperatures up to 39.2F.
For the University scientists, it is important that the new vaccine’s potential is harnessed to do charitable work related to eradicating the disease.