India considers new polio vaccine, kindling debate on strategyBMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2809 (Published 01 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2809
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Re: Poliomyelitis outbreaks after polio vaccination-medicine in practice should not ignore the past published research
Based on the past experience, the recommendation to use the injectable,
instead of the oral, polio vaccine in India is doomed to failure. The
reason is in the nature of the beast: viruses, and including polio viruse,
in vaccines are inactivated. This is done by a 14-day treatment with
formaldehyde. This process is subject to the asymptotic factor, meaning
that within about 40 hours most of the viruses are inactivated, but after
that time there is a residue of viable viruses indefinitely (Gerber et al.
1961). Moreover, the inactivated viruses revert back to the original
virulence after their introduction into the recipients of the relevant
vaccine (Fenner 1962); the Cutter incident (Peterson et al. 1955) seems to
be all but forgotten: the recipients of the injectable vaccine and some of
their contacts developed paralysis.
Gerber P, Hottle GA, and Grubbs RE. 1961. Inactivation of
vacuolating virus, SV40. Proc Soc Exp Biol & Med; 108: 205-209.
Fenner F. 1962. The reactivation of animal viruses. BMJ; July 21:
Peterson LJ, Benson WW, and Gaeber FO. 1955. Vaccine-induced
poliomyelitis in Idaho. JAMA; September 24: 241-244.
Competing interests: No competing interests