icddr,b scientist wins 2016 Charles C. Shepard Science Award for article published on Polio research

icddr,b’s Dr K Zaman and his research colleagues win the prestigious 2016 Charles C. Shepard Science Award for an article published on polio research in the Lancet Infectious Diseases. It was awarded in the category ‘Prevention and Control’.

Dr K Zaman, a senior scientist and epidemiologist with icddrb’s Infectious Disease Division, led the study in collaboration with scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Dr K Zaman, Photo: Rabiul Hasan / icddr,b


The study, funded by CDC and UNICEF, demonstrated that three doses of bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) or monovalent oral polio (mOPV1) with a short schedule of 2 weeks intervals between doses induces an immune response similar to that obtained with the standard schedule of giving doses at 4 weeks intervals. These intervals can rapidly increase population immunity against polioviruses to control outbreaks or prevent transmission in high-risk areas.

Dr. Zaman said “The study findings have great public health impact. Since the study was published, bivalent oral polio vaccine was used in short schedules for outbreak response in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Laos and many other countries to stop polio transmission faster and limit the number of children paralyzed”.

The numbers of cases of polio have fallen dramatically around the world due to immunisation. Although oral polio vaccines (OPVs) are safe and highly effective, they have a shortcoming. They are based on weakened versions of live poliovirus, which can replicate but do not cause disease. The vaccine virus can also be excreted by immunised children and passed on to others.

Hence, from early 2016, the WHO has decided to phase out the trivalent OPVs (tOPVs), which worked against all three types, and instead switch to bivalent polio vaccines (bOPVs) that would work against type 1 and 3.

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