The University of Queensland helps to develop next-gen polio vaccine
Technology developed at the University of Queensland may hold the key to eradicating polio completely by removing live virus from the vaccine production process. Polio inoculation has been in use since the 1950s and has all but eradicated polio in the developed world. However, ‘wild polio’ strains are rampant in some poorer nations.
Dr Natalie Connors, from the University’s Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, is working on “modular virus-like particles”, which resemble the viruses but only use the safe part of the virus. This means that the particles are able to “raise an excellent immune response.”
Dr Connors points out that “...the current live-attenuated polio vaccines, taken orally, can lead to circulation of vaccine-derived strains of polio-causing infection. Polio virus-like particle vaccines will be important for the post-eradication era, to maintain protection without live virus production.”
Dr Connors recently visited the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva to brief researchers there on her work.