Dr. Maldonado awarded new grant funding from Gates Foundation
Director of Academic Global Child Health, Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, has been awarded new grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the dynamics of oral polio transmission. The $3.6 million dollar grant will allow Maldonado and her lab group to study the impact of oral polio vaccination rates on the virus's circulation in Mexican communities, the results of which may inform public policy decision making in that country, as well as globally.
Since the advent of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, the incidence of poliomyelitis due to wild-type poliovirus has declined from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to 416 reported cases in 2013. The success of eradication efforts is due in large part to the widespread use of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), which is the backbone of polio eradication efforts worldwide due to its ease of administration, immunogenic potential and low cost.
OPV, a live-attenuated virus, can develop into mutated vaccine strains that could lead re-emergence of polio-- jeopardizing years of eradication efforts
However, because OPV can, itself, cause disease, its use is not without risks. OPV, a live-attenuated virus, can develop into mutated vaccine strains that could lead re-emergence of polio-- jeopardizing years of eradication efforts. Thus, recent WHO policy has directed national immunization programs worldwide to transition to inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) regimens by 2015. As countries transition to these new regimens, strategies to control OPV circulation are necessary to prevent re-emergence of OPV strains.
Maldonado’s new study will help improve understanding of the determinants of OPV persistence and transmission in a community. The study will examine both inter- and intra-household OPV transmission in 3 Mexican household clusters that differ by OPV coverage during the February 2015 National Immunization Week. By comparing inter-household transmission rates among all the household clusters, the research team will determine if the proportion of OPV-vaccinated children impacts community OPV transmission in a primarily IPV-vaccinated community. They will then determine if epidemiologic (i.e.: degree of contact), anthropometric (i.e.: nutritional status) or clinical covariates (i.e.: IPV/OPV immunization history) are associated with intra-household transmission.
Read more about the lab's previous research on polio on their website.