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January 22, 1992

'Alter' a Virus Molecularly for Polio Vaccine?

JAMA. 1992;267(4):473. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480040021003

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THE MOLECULAR biology of the poliomyelitis virus is becoming so well known that it now is possible to think of molecularly altering polioviruses for vaccines.

It appears to be the general opinion of many researchers (attending an international workshop on the neurovirulence of poliovirus held by the Food and Drug Administration in Bethesda, Md) that such viruses (for vaccine use) are not likely to be available in the near future.

But when they are, they might be less sensitive to temperature changes in storage and hence provide improved protection.

30-Year History  Thus, it appears that the molecular-level analysis of mutations in wild-type poliovirus developed more than 30 years ago from the live-virus polio vaccine by Albert Sabin, MD, now are beginning to bear fruit. At the workshop, Sabin said: "The scientific challenge is to look at the genetic elements of neurovirulence and see whether these can be deleted without interfering