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An international team of scientists are working on developing an artificial Polio vaccine, as was announced recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California.  The last leg of the journey in eradication is lagging because the existing oral vaccine uses a weakened version of the virus as its stimulus to provoke a response and protection in the individual being treated.  The World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are providing a $674,000 grant to fund the scientists to engineer a particle for a replacement vaccine.  Professor Dave Stuart from Oxford University is a member of the team and reported that "The idea of the synthetic vaccine is that it contains no genome - it's virus free."  "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."  One of the obstacles for the team includes finding a way to maintain the shape of the particle when it has no genetic material inside.  The team stresses that a synthetic approach is merely part of the strategy and that vaccination would have to continue for a number of years beyond the last recorded case to ensure no chance of re-establishment.  "Our aspiration is eventually to get rid of the virus and consign it to a few vials in the freezers of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgia, or wherever," said Professor Stuart.