Global Polio Study Begins

NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- An unprecedented surveillance study launches today to contribute to global polio eradication efforts.  Recent outbreaks of Polio in Israel, Syria, Kenya, South Sudan, and Somalia have once again placed the virus at the forefront of Public Health Officials' concerns.
Jeffrey Modell FoundationJeffrey Modell Foundation
The Jeffrey Modell Foundation's surveillance study will focus on patients with Primary Immunodeficiencies (PI) who have either received the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), a live-weakened form of the virus, or have been exposed to it. Due to little or no immune system, when a patient with PI receives OPV, he or she is unable to create an immune response and therefore, cannot clear the intestinal vaccine virus infection, which is typically excreted within six to eight weeks by individuals with healthy immune systems. 
After prolonged periods of time, the virus may no longer be the same as the original vaccine-virus as it can genetically alter. This is called Vaccine Derived Poliovirus (VDPV). Although rare, it is expected that patients with PI are at risk of developing Vaccine Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis (VAPP) and VDPV excretion, which could lead to possible exposure to the community.  The surveillance of these patients will shed light on important questions about vaccine-derived polioviruses throughout the globe. 
This study will include 25 sites across a wide geographical range.  The Jeffrey Modell Centers Network makes it possible to find a large patient population for this surveillance.  JMF Centers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Iran, Kuwait, Russia, Poland, Turkey and Tunisia will participate.   JMF will work alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Task Force for Global Health (TFGH), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 
Vicki Modell, Co-Founder of JMF, says, "We are excited to begin such a meaningful and crucial surveillance project in so many regions of the world.  We are optimistic and hope to bring our energy, our commitment, and our compassion to this program."   
Once wild poliovirus is eradicated globally, vaccine-viruses will be the only type of live poliovirus in the community and could potentially lead to an outbreak.  In order to prevent this occurrence, the Polio Antivirals Initiative (PAI), an essential part of the TFGH's Polio Eradication effort, aims to create an efficient and inexpensive antiviral.
About Jeffrey Modell FoundationVicki and Fred Modell established the Jeffrey Modell Foundation in 1987, in memory of their son Jeffrey, who died at the age of fifteen from complications of Primary Immunodeficiency – a genetic condition that is chronic, serious, and often fatal.  JMF is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to early diagnosis, meaningful treatments and, ultimately, cures through research, physician education, public awareness, advocacy, patient support, and newborn screening.  The Jeffrey Modell Centers Network (JMCN) includes 556 physicians at 234 academic institutions in 196 cities and 78 countries spanning 6 continents.  For more information about PI, visit www.info4pi.org or email the Jeffrey Modell Foundation at info4pi@jmfworld.org
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