Scientists have created a new polio vaccine that may help wipe out the disease altogether.
A research study has shown that the new vaccine already produces better results at protecting children than the common polio vaccine. It has already been tested in Afghanistan, India and Nigeria.
Polio is an infectious disease which can deform bodies and paralyze children. It mostly hits children under the age of 5 and can spread quickly in overcrowded areas with poor sanitation. There is no cure for polio. Polio is especially hard to combat because about 90% of those infected have no symptoms at all. The disease was first discovered in 1840. Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the twentieth century polio was the most widespread disease among children.
After mass vaccination programs started in the 1950s polio vanished in developed countries but it has all but disappeared in poor countries of Asia and Africa.
The number of polio cases has been going down constantly in the last 20 years. In 1988 there were still 350,000 polio cases in about 125 countries around the world. In 2009 the number has dropped to 1600 cases in four countries.
Recently , researchers have carried out experiments on new born babies in India. According to the results, the new drug is about 30% more effective than the older one. Besides the new vaccine, immunization programs in Third World countries have also contributed to the significant decrease in polio. Pharmaceutical companies play an important part in the fight against polio because they offer the new vaccine at the same price as the older one.
While the old polio vaccine targets either one or all three types of the disease the new one combats the two more dangerous types. Children can get full immunization with only one dose of the vaccine. Within the next there years scientists hope to wipe out the disease completely.