BGU Receives Grant for Polio Research
February 8, 2019
A grant of $100,000 has been awarded to Dr. Tomer Hertz of BGU’s Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev for the development of a non-vaccine test to diagnose and measure polio.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that all countries using traditional Oral Polio Vaccinations (OPV) begin strengthening immunization systems and introduce at least one dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into standard vaccination schedules by the end of 2015. The WHO says its global focus now is to expand this plan and replace trivalent OPV (tOPV) with bivalent OPV (bOPV) in all OPV-using countries.
“The WHO is looking for new, safe ways to measure reactions to polio vaccinations that do not include live viruses in order to prevent new outbreaks,” says Dr. Hertz. “Our proposal is to develop a new method of measuring reaction to the polio vaccine which is based on disabled virus.”
Dr. Hertz’s lab focuses on systems immunology and on research about epidemics and vaccinations to combat them. The lab is working on a unique method of measuring immunologic profiles based on chips that are embossed with a variety of antigens.
“We are working on a good, inexpensive substitute for existing tests that could be used in laboratories as clinical tests. The technology will provide an important new diagnostic tool,” he says.
Dr. Hertz’s research partners include Prof. Lester Shulman of the School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University; the Israel Center for Disease Control (ICDC); and Britain’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC).
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