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Polio Virus Mutated

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8/22/2014 8:11:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Would be terrible to have this disease back in play with the numbers it used to hit people. It does not sound like a big concern at this point, but just continues to show the dreaded mutation that makes a bug more contagious or vaccination ineffective is a big concern that will eventually happen. The thing about life is that it is not static.

Thanks to effective vaccination, polio is considered nearly eradicated. Each year only a few hundred people are stricken worldwide. However, scientists of the University of Bonn, together with colleagues from Gabon, are reporting alarming findings: a mutated virus that was able to resist the vaccine protection to a considerable extent was found in victims of an outbreak in the Congo in 2010. The pathogen could also potentially have infected many people in Germany.

The polio epidemic in the Congo in 2010 was especially serious. 445 people were verifiably infected, mostly young adults. The disease was fatal for 209 of them. This high mortality rate is surprising. Also important was the fact that many of those affected had apparently been vaccinated: Surveys indicated that half of the patients remembered having received the prescribed three vaccination dosages. To date the vaccination has been considered a highly effective weapon for containing the polioviruses that cause the disease.

"We isolated polio-viruses from the deceased and examined the viruses more closely," explains Dr. Jan Felix Drexler, who is in the meantime working in the Netherlands. He carried out the study during his employment at the Institute for Virology of the University Hospital of Bonn under the supervision of Prof. Christian Drosten, together with his colleagues from Gabon, Dr. Gilda Grard and Dr. Eric Leroy. "The pathogen carries a mutation that changes its form at a decisive point." The result: the antibodies induced by the vaccination can hardly block the mutated virus and render it harmless.