Polio sign

Polio detection times can be halved, new research shows

The UK could be set to initiate a major global health boost after new research revealed how to halve how long it takes to detect polio.

The discovery was outlined in a new study published in Nature Microbiology and shows that a technique called Direct molecular Detection and Nanopore Sequencing (DDNS) can save public health authorities crucial time and money.

DDNS has already been used to detect Covid-19 and involves samples being tested in the country where an outbreak occurred, rather than shipping them to specialist laboratories abroad.

By using this method, the time it takes for transport can be reduced from an average of 42 days to just 19 days, in turn speeding up the response times of local authorities and minimising spread.

                                                                         Video credit: Canva

The project was conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was a collaboration between various partners, including:

  • Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • World Health Organization
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Over a six-month period, DDNS testing completed in the DRC was reported to have more than a 99% accuracy.

Research fellow at Imperial College London’s school of public health, Dr Alex Shaw, said: “This method allows the rapid confirmation of polio strains, facilitating swifter vaccine responses that can reduce the number of polio cases stemming from an outbreak.”

He continued: “Development and validation of the method has been the result of fruitful collaboration between a consortium of many partners.”

Image credit: iStock

NHE September/October 2023

NHE September/October 2023

Empowering the next generation to lead the way in hard-to-treat cancers.

The September/October 2023 edition of NHE brings you expert comment and analysis on a range of key health sector topics, from digital transformation to navigating post-pandemic challenges.


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Events

NHE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of healthcare services. Over 365 days you'll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with the knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

National Health Executive Podcast

Ep. 36
How interoperability can support the NHS's core goals
with Ed Platt

In episode 36 of the National Health Executive podcast, we were joined by Omnicell’s UK professional services director, Ed Platt, to discuss interoperability in the NHS, practical examples of where it can be leveraged best, the importance of the health service's digital transformation journey and more.

More articles...

View all