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CDC Discussing Using Oral Polio Vaccine in NY For the First Time in 20 Years

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CDC Discussing Using Oral Polio Vaccine in NY For the First Time in 20 Years

(CTN News) – CDC is considering using an oral polio vaccine for the first time in more than 20 years to stop an outbreak that paralyzed an adult in the greater New York City metropolitan area.

CDC team leader for domestic polio, Dr. Janell Routh, said the CDC is discussing with New York State and New York City colleagues about using novel oral polio vaccines.

CDC is considering a newer oral Polio vaccine that is more stable and less likely to cause mutations.

“It will take time.” “It’s not something we can do overnight,” Routh told CNBC. “There will be much thought and discussion about reintroducing an oral polio vaccine,” she said.

New York State Department of Health is collaborating with CDC on possible responses to the outbreak.

The oral vaccine was pulled off the shelves in 2000 because it contained a live, weakened virus that could, in rare cases, mutate into a virulent form that could paralyze people who hadn’t been vaccinated.

The latest outbreak was caused by someone vaccinated with live virus overseas and started a chain of transmission that eventually reached the U.S. New York sewage samples linked to London and Jerusalem samples. The origin of the transmission isn’t clear.

This oral vaccine caused paralysis because it mutated into more virulent strains while spreading among those not vaccinated.

Currently, the U.S. uses the inactivated polio vaccine, which contains chemicals that kill the virus so it can’t replicate, mutate or cause disease.

This outbreak hasn’t stopped despite New York state health officials’ immunization drive with inactivated polio shots.

To stop the current and future outbreaks, the CDC set up a work group within its committee of independent vaccine advisors to develop criteria for using the novel oral polio vaccine. New York experts joined the workgroup for the first time Wednesday.

Due to the outbreak in New York, we need to revisit polio. “It’s that simple,” said Dr. Oliver Brooks, the chief medical officer at Watts Healthcare in Los Angeles.

Polio vaccines are more effective at stopping transmission but use live virus strains that can mutate into a virulent form.

 

Although the inactivated vaccine prevents paralysis, it doesn’t stop the virus from spreading. Oral polio vaccines work a lot better at stopping the spread of the virus.

There’s a poliovirus strain circulating in New York City that mutated from and is genetically related to the Sabin Type 2 strain used in an older oral polio vaccine.

Upon need, Routh said, the U.S. would use a safer, newer oral polio vaccine, which is more stable and less likely to mutate into a strain that could spread.

According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the new oral polio vaccine was developed to stop outbreaks caused by the old, less stable vaccine. In 21 countries, more than 450 million doses have been given.

Using the novel oral polio vaccine would require FDA approval or emergency use authorization. We’ve reached out to the FDA for comment.

CDC advisor Routh said the goal of the public health response is to prevent more paralysis cases and stop the virus from spreading.

“As long as there are wastewater detections of this circulating virus linked back to the case patient’s virus, we know there is ongoing transmission in the community,” Routh said.

In countries that use inactivated vaccines, like the U.S., the WHO recommends using the novel oral polio vaccine if inactivated shots don’t work.

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