Polio is a devastating illness that paralyzes the legs and/or arms of victims. This infection has been eradicated in all countries except Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. What helped control polio all over the world is polio vaccine that is given by mouth and contains a weakened version of the polio virus. Can the vaccine be made even better by using “virus-like particles” instead of the weakened virus? Researchers from Leeds University think so and they have developed virus-like particles that they hope will lead to large-scale production of a new vaccine. Their goal is to make polio vaccine production safer and cheaper, and eliminate the possibility of the vaccine itself causing disease, even though this risk is exceedingly low with the current vaccine.
Dr. Oluwapelumi Adeyemi, a Nigerian scientist, studied with the Leeds team and has returned to Nigeria to extend this line of research to other diseases.