I was delighted to read about the potential new Polio vaccine created from plants – produced by “hijacking” tobacco-relative plant mechanisms, by turning its leaves into Polio-vaccine “factories”. Although it is early days and there is a lot of development and testing still to do, it is extremely promising news for long-term global Polio eradication efforts.
The new vaccine developed has the features needed to train the immune system, but lacks the dangerous risk of live viruses entering the body and regaining strength, which is the primary problem with the current vaccination. This ground-breaking research, funded by the World Health Organisation, therefore has the potential to have significant impacts on the global mission to tackle Polio, among other pandemic
life-threatening diseases. Polio is yet to be eradicated but the new vaccine research is certainly a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the new research can do nothing to help those with Post Polio Syndrome, a debilitating condition which affects Polio survivors after contracting the virus. Our charity supports 120,000 people in the UK with PPS, and some commentators predict this number could rise to around 40,000,000 people living with PPS worldwide, by the time Polio itself is finally eradicated.
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship