- Advertisment -
HomeEconomyAfter 4 decades, Pakistan is being investigated after Britain is diagnosed with...
- Advertisment -

After 4 decades, Pakistan is being investigated after Britain is diagnosed with polio virus MPNRC

- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Pakistan’s vaccination program has come under suspicion after poliovirus was detected in sewage samples in London for the first time in four decades, according to a media report on Friday. The UK Health Protection Agency noted that the virus detected on Thursday may have been imported from some country, and has asked parents to ensure their children are fully immunized against the crippling disease .

- Advertisement -

Health officials in Islamabad claim that the vaccine-derived virus found in the UK is present in 22 countries and that the locally found type was wild poliovirus (WPV). Dr Shahzad Baig, the national coordinator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, told Dawn newspaper on Thursday that it was too early to say whether the virus came from Pakistan, as UK authorities were yet to announce the results of the genome sequencing.

Genome sequencing helps determine the origin of a virus, as samples found in different regions contain a different ribonucleic acid (RNA). At times, the cases reported in Pakistan were reported to have originated from neighboring Afghanistan during genome sequencing. We are waiting for the genetic sampling report of the virus. Furthermore, there are two types of poliovirus in the world: WPV which is present in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV).

- Advertisement -

Baig said environmental samples in London were found to contain VDPV, which is present in 22 countries, so Pakistan should not be blamed for exporting it before genetic sequencing reports are received. He added that the vaccine-derived variety can travel through Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Central Africa and many other countries.

- Advertisement -

The report said an expert from the Ministry of National Health Services, who was not authorized to speak on record, said that there are three types of WPV. Decades ago, a vaccine called ‘Trivalent’ was used because it contained all three variants. Following the eradication of type II in 2016, a bivalent vaccine with types I and III of WPV was introduced.

However, type II suddenly re-emerged in 2020, raising fears that the virus has the potential to re-emerge. He said that this second type of virus is called VDPV, because it was completely eradicated from the world. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains an attenuated (weakened) vaccine virus, which activates an immune response in the human body. The expert said that when a child is given OPV, the weakened vaccine virus replicates (grows) in the intestine for a limited period of time, leading to the development of immunity by producing antibodies.

During this time the virus of the vaccine also comes out. In areas with inadequate sanitation, this excreted vaccine virus can immediately spread within the community (and provide protection to other children through passive vaccination), before eventually dying, he said. On rare occasions, if a population is severely deficient, the excreted vaccine virus may continue to circulate for a long time. The longer it is allowed to live, the more genetic changes occur.

In very rare instances, the vaccine virus can change genetically into a form that can paralyze it, known as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, the expert explained. Dr Nadeem Jan, a public health expert, said Pakistan would be in a difficult, but rather embarrassing, situation if it was proved that the virus found in London came from here.

Pakistan has already been under a travel advisory that requires everyone to get vaccinated and carry a vaccination certificate before traveling abroad. We also claim that over 90% of the vaccination target has been achieved. The world can doubt our claims if it is found that the virus is from Pakistan, he remarked. Responding to a question, Dr Baig claimed that the polio virus was generally under control in Pakistan, except in North Waziristan, where there were denials of vaccines and people were not cooperating with polio teams.

About 200 countries have already eliminated this virus and Pakistan can also achieve the target. Unfortunately, North Waziristan has become a safe haven for the virus, but if we are able to defeat the virus there, we will be able to eradicate it from the country, he said. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic since Nigeria was declared free of poliovirus in 2020.

The Pakistan government has had to suspend anti-polio campaigns in the past following the increasing number of attacks on polio activists in different parts of the country. Efforts to eradicate the crippling disease have been severely hampered in recent years by militants making vaccination teams deadly targets, opposing campaigns that claim polio drops cause infertility.

Read all the latest news, breaking news, watch top videos and watch Live TV right here.

,

- Advertisement -
RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

- Advertisment -