Polio Molecular Biologist says malnutrition hinders children’s immunity against after vaccination

He said the inability to mount adequate immune response with oral polio vaccine was one of the factors leading to the resurfaced cases.

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A Molecular Biologist, Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, says that malnutrition is a major hindrance to Nigerian children mounting adequate immunity against Poliomyelitis even with vaccination. 

Poliomyelitis, often called Polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the polio virus.

Iwalokun, Head, Immunology and Vaccinology Research Department, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

He said the inability to mount adequate immune response with oral polio vaccine was one of the factors leading to the resurfaced cases of polio in some parts of the country.

“Malnutrition is described as the most common immunodeficiency globally, a malnourished child may not be able to respond effectively to vaccines and this is not peculiar to polio vaccine alone."

 “Some children that are being vaccinated for measles still come down with measles sometimes and we are expected to have long time immunity after been vaccinated."

“We do have confounding factors that are making Nigerian children not to mount adequate response to vaccines that have been given to them and our immunisation programme does not take this into consideration."

“When a child is vaccinated, after few months, it is expected that the blood sample of such child should be taken and screened for antibodies raised against the antigens in the body,’’ Iwalokun said.

According to him, aside from the nutritional effects on the response to oral polio vaccine, environmental virology was needed to survey for polio virus in an environment where an index case is being reported.

“An environment where an index case is found should be screened and sanitised for proper hygiene."

“Laboratory analysis of the infected child should be carried out to know the strain type and causes for immediate medical response and intervention,’’ Iwalokun said.

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