Scientists from the US and UK hope to create a wholly artificial safe vaccine to combat polio by copying the viral genome. The scientists hope by artificially replicating the virus, in effect removing its genetic machinery, they can avoid using a weakened version of the polio virus in the oral polio vaccine used currently.
Researcher Dave Stuart said, "The idea of the synthetic vaccine is that it contains no genome as it's virus free and so it's made, in a way, like a super-chemical, a complicated chemical, that assembles itself to look like the virus but has no way of ever replicating. Early results with polio vaccine are very promising, with synthetic particles being produced and evidence of successful stabilization."
In rare cases the oral medication provokes a reaction in the patient's gut which allows a reactivated virus to pass out of the body and spread to other unvaccinated individuals.