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India Manages to Free Itself of Polio (wsj.com)
380 points by smaug7 1375 days ago | hide | past | web | 109 comments | favorite

This is bigger news than most news stories you'll read this year, or this decade for that matter.

Yes, we need to share and celebrate this kind of news a lot more. Link to the UNICEF site for those who can't read the WSJ article - http://www.unicef.org/india/health_3729.htm

This should work if you want to look at the WSJ article -- they let you through their paywall if your referer is Google


Hats off to Polio Vaccination campaign which takes place here in India . They really did a hard work . Broadcasting services spreading message related to vaccination and "door -to-door" free service of vaccination made it all possible with the help of NGO's.

In the last mile, the effort is very impressive and laudable. Agents/Volunteers make a door to door visit or there is an announcement via public address systems about the visit in that area. The vaccine is oral drops and is very easy to administer for the volunteers who can be late teens too sometimes.

The vaccine is totally free and hence reaches even the poorest.

It usually happens in the Jan-Feb time and is combined with TV ads with prominent celebrities endorsing the program, though I don't remember seeing the ads any more.

Management of such programs over the populace of India by itself is worthy of praise. A similar process in India which is under rated is the election process. It is a worthy case study in management for any B school.

My Great Aunt Lillian who was crippled by polio when she was a child must have a smile on her face in heaven!

The reason would be that IF India eradicates itself of polio, we are a step closer (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigera etc.) to see ONLY the second disease (after smallpox) to be eradicated from the face of the earth.

It would be third, the eradication of rinderpest was confirmed a couple of years ago.

Hopefully this decade we will be reading a news story about polio's global eradication.

Sorry for hijacking this comment thread but I'd like to share a few of my personal experiences in this process.


As a high-school student, I remember my entire school participated in the early years of this drive. I remember students being assigned specific areas of my town - groups of three to five, assigned an area consisting of a few blocks of multi-storeyed apartments. Each group was asked to canvass and get names of kids under five years of age in every house in their assigned area.

If you were wondering why any of us would bother to put in an honest shift, the collection of said kids' names was 'gamified' to some extent. Moreover, for us kids, it was simply time away from school, i.e. no lessons, no teachers, just us friends going from door-to-door. Schools would be given points based on the accuracy of data. (I am still not sure how they decided this but that's what we were told anyway. It sure helped to keep the lazy miscreants among us on the straight and narrow.) The data collected by the students would then be handed over to the authorities in charge of the vaccination process, who would then draw up a list of vaccination centers.

One of the more interesting things was broadcasting a single, 'target' date every year for mass vaccinations. The government would broadcast this date (typically the second or third Sunday of January) over various media and also conduct last-mile publicity campaigns with a loudspeaker blaring reminders in every area as the 'target' date came closer.

Bear in mind, these vaccines were usually available at government-run clinics and hospitals on any given day of the year but setting a target date ensured that people allocated time out of their schedules. Furthermore, since the target date was always a Sunday, almost everyone could be convinced to make an appearance. That being said, there was an additional arrangement to ensure that those who didn't/couldn't make it to a center on a target date still wouldn't miss out on that all-important dose of vaccine.

As for us students, our contribution to the process did not stop with the collection of data. Since our school was a center for mass-vaccinations, we were expected to sit at the vaccination booths and cross-check the arriving vaccinees (is that a word? Never mind, it is now...) against the lists we created and ensure that every kid on that list got vaccinated. Think elections, but for vaccination.

Furthermore, we were made to go to their houses with volunteers carrying medicines and ensure that kids who couldn't/hadn't made an appearance yet didn't miss out on the vaccine.

I can't remember if any of these efforts earned us extra points on our annual grades but hey, we were happy enough to get 'school-sanctioned loitering time' on a school-day!

<TL;DR> As a school student, my school ensured that I played a small part in the early days of this campaign. While most of us did it for shits and giggles, it is only now that we realize that we played a small part in the process and can feel proud of putting in an honest shift all those years ago.

Credit must go to the people who designed and executed this campaign ceaselessly over the last twenty years. Their efforts have ensured that no child was, indeed, left behind when it came to administering the all-important drops of the polio vaccine.

Here's the man credited to have started the polio eradication program in 1994.


Dr. Harsh Vardhan has keenly taken it to its fruitful conclusion as well.

The initiative to check polio started way back in 1978, with permanently disabled population still available across 5 alive generations. This number is likely to shrink rapidly in the next two decades, provided the polio vaccination program is kept abreast with advancing deadliness of poliovirus [1] and state's ability to maintain free vaccination.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliovirus

[Edited: Span of generations across which polio afflicted patients could be found is 5 and not 3 as per my original comment.]

Dr. Harsh Vardhan was the BJP's (India's main opposition party currently) chief minister candidate for the recently held elections to Delhi - India's capital city which is also a state. You've tried to ascribe credit for India's multi-decade polio eradication efforts to him, including a link to his Twitter handle, with zero references to back this claim up.

It's a sad way to add a partisan sheen on an achievement that actually belong to the tens of thousands of people who've worked for this over decades.

Here's a better summary of India's efforts by the WHO's representative to India: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/JD8uPXvircS0rU60AIUvUN/Polio...

Have you done the research first, before politicizing the issue!?

Dr.Harsh Vardhan, was a doctor like any other, in Delhi, one of the first three states in India to start the Polio program, meaning it was not his initiative, instead it was his job to be part of it.

What really happened is explained carefully here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696658/

I can't find any trace of politics in the comment you're replying to. Has it been edited?

I think he means to say, Dr Harsh Vardhan is a leader of a major political party.

Polio eradication in India was made possible by so many people one can't really thank them all by name. There are so many volunteers, who have worked on weekends going door to door to educate the parents and deliver the vaccination and they have done it over the years.

There are doctors, nurses, government workers, even Bollywood actors who've done ads for free to spread awareness.

So you can't really thank one person, one government or one organization. This was a national movement which succeeded.

Here's the man credited to have started the polio eradication program in 1994.

the use of word "started" and the structure "the man" seems invisible to you?

This is a prime example of Pushy Politics, which has been not just used, but over abused by fanatics. Distorting History, and if so much as someone (like me here) points it out... "a man can't make a mistake?" attitude then, makes these people feel invincible.

Thus...I must quote Plato here:

You can forgive a child for staying in darkness, but the real tragedy of life is when men choose to stay away from light.

Calm down. Read about Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Wikipedia [1] before shedding all your fur here.


During his time in the State's Health Ministry, he launched Polio Eradication Plan in October 1994.[6] The programme was successful and was adopted throughout the whole nation by the Government of India.[7]


Please do your homework before calling others on the task. And look beyond your own version of reality, it is important. I wouldn't have even replied to you had it not been on HN.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harsh_Vardhan_(Delhi_politician...

The wiki page about him is not even 6 months old. People involved in the malicious campaign, as grand as this, don't leave any stone unturned to make what is false into truth. I cannot bring myself to believe that. Sorry, not possible.

You should have checked what your reference is. And now this is not a debate, what I said was not that he was not part of the movement. But Polio campaign was not started by him, is a fact.

Started, is someone who actually launched it on the national scale which would be the then prime minister, but should I also commit the same mistake of naming a politician and giving him all the credit? No I won't, I already said what is the known truth.

Also, if you read my reference (from US National Library Records) you would know, that the first project was launched in Tamil Nadu, then expanded to 3 states.

During his time in the State's Health Ministry, he launched Polio Eradication Plan in October 1994.[6]

The reference for this is hidden behind a login screen, which is interesting.

Maybe Dr. Vardhan is himself politically controversial for some reason? Or maybe it's considered "political" to give credit to one single doctor, when there were others spearheading the initiative as well?

Don't forget the Polish American scientist Albert Sabin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Sabin The guy developed the oral vaccine and supported the national plans to immunize large population. That is what I call a Good Genius.

First Polio Free district in India is in Kerala. We have not heard about any Harsh Vardhan here. Last Polio case in Kerala was reported in 2000 (For few decades before itself, cases in Kerala were extremely rare). World wide polio eradication was a project by WHO with a target to end the disease by 2000. Indian Government adopted this project with WHO help. Do not understand how Harsh Vardhan (do not know who he is!!) can start it. Though India is late, it is commendable that it finally achieved the goal.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=30123 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polio_eradication

Really happy about this news. I cannot imagine how much effort it takes to fight against the misconceptions and prejudices of various local groups to achieve this massive milestone.

I am still worried though.

I have seen large groups of people who still refuse to vaccinate the newborns in their community. The ignorance and misinformation that is widespread even in the supposedly well educated stratas of society is just mind boggling.

I know many well educated people (some are teachers!) who have not given ANY vaccination to their newborns.

A few months ago, my father (a doctor) had a visitor from his native village. The visitor (who was a distant relative too) had come to consult dad about his ailments. One of his hands was disabled. While we were having coffee, the guy asked dad about the polio vaccination drive that is happening in the village and how he and the others are not vaccinating the infants. They believe that America is trying to sterilize muslims to reduce the population. They believe that vaccination can cause autism etc. So dad reminded our visitor that his hand is disabled because he had caught polio in his childhood. STILL, the dude was arguing with my dad. Needless to say, I was furious at the state of affairs for the next few days :(

> So dad reminded our visitor that his hand is disabled because he had caught polio in his childhood. STILL, the dude was arguing with my dad.

This is unfortunate, but from his perspective his disabled hand is orthogonal to the belief that the vaccination is tainted with some poison/sterilizer.

Meanwhile in Pakistan the Taliban has banned polio vaccination.


It has mostly got to do with health workers who were at risk because the clerics and Taliban threatened them. They also spread the misinformation that vaccinations are a Western conspiracy against Pakistanis to sterilise and reduce the population of Muslims.


Sadly, most people in these areas are uneducated and they believe what the clerics tell them. The health workers were literally risking their lives.

It didn't help that it turned out the CIA were running "fake" vaccination campaigns to gather information though - that would have helped confirm suspicions in the eyes of anyone, not just the uneducated.

Messing up with the biosafety of the planet just to catch a political enemy. How awesome.

Of course the CIA doing its job to track down a murderous thug is somehow "messing with the biosafety" of the planet. Not only that, but according to the sick and twisted thinking of TeMPOral, Bin Laden is a "political enemy". Sure, Bin Laden is just a politician with legitimate differences.

This kind of twisted thinking by TempOral and way too many others like him is what is wrong with the world these days. You should be ashamed of yourself.

> Of course the CIA doing its job to track down a murderous thug is somehow "messing with the biosafety" of the planet.

It is. Discrediting vaccination programs is far more dangerous in the long run than any single terrorist. Even if he is the mastermind behind 9/11. The fight against polio is more important than this war on terror, and also a lot more likely to be successful. And the CIA is discrediting it by compromising it for the search for Bin Laden.

It's great that they found him, but now a lot of people in one of the last places on earth where polio is still a big problem, know that the CIA could be behind any vaccination program. People will refuse vaccination, because it might be used to track down a family member, and polio will continue to exist. All because of the CIA's stupid move.

Not only with people refuse vaccination, but more importantly entire governments will refuse vaccinations on its people, even if its people are willing to receive them because of distrust of vaccination programs. This is huge, really really really big huge.

"Political enemy" != "politician with legitimate differences in ideas"; "Political enemy" == "an enemy of the state because of (state's) politics".

I was purposefully exaggerating for effect with "biosafety of the planet" but only so much; because polio is a bitch. It is a nasty group of viruses that take a huge coordinated global effort to keep in check, and the moment you stop being careful, it'll spread around faster than you can say "sick stewardess on an international airport visiting friends".

Therefore, in my opinion messing with social acceptance of polio vaccination program might have a second-order effect of bringing polio back to the places it was already eradicated from.

We're all so easily swayed by propaganda to label someone "murderous thug". Odd how we never had a trial, never had concrete verifiable data and easily label them as such. We sweep those collateral casualties under the rug the same way the "barbaric" people we purport to be attempting to "civilize" do. I worry about us and our future.

Sorry, but it is your thinking that is twistend and what is wrong with the world these days, and it is you who should be ashamed of it.

If doing it's job involves preventing vaccinations, the CIA should get a better job.

Your thinking is twisted. You've been voted down accordingly.

> Not only that, but according to the sick and twisted thinking of TeMPOral, Bin Laden is a "political enemy". Sure, Bin Laden is just a politician with legitimate differences.

True he wasn't even that, during the hunt for him, he was merely a publicity face for US propaganda purposes, the symbol of an enemy to capture and "bring to justice", locked away in a safe house somewhere distant.

Nobody outside the US propaganda machine cared about him, and his capture didn't actually accomplish much except a short-lived rejoice for some.

It wasn't exactly a crippling blow to Al-Qaeda, or anything. The rest of the world shrugged, offering their diplomatically mandatory but meaningless "huh, well, good for you" congratulations, many emphasizing the symbolic nature of the killing, that it wasn't the end of Al-Qaeda or (even more meaningless) global terrorism in general. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactions_to_the_death_of_Osam... Looking back, I think Saddam Hussein's capture (and trial) had more of an impact.

How does it feel to be a terrible human being?


That's how they got Bin Laden's hideout confirmation. By running a fake vaccination campaign to get his children inoculated and collect and match the DNA to confirm his presence. Unfortunate side-effect

Excuse me? Do you know how close we are to eradicating polio? Eradication. Nobody will ever die or suffer from polio again, forever. This will save millions of lives over the years, more people than Bin Laden could ever kill. We are so close to this goal, and to put it in danger just because we have a grudge against someone is beyond irresponsible.


372 cases last year.

A grudge? You're thinking is just as sick and twisted as aTEmpOral's.

Let me put it this way:

It is NEVER worth putting at risk even one GLOBAL humanitarian campaign that has been going on since 1988 and is so far 99.9% effective, has cost billions of dollars, has saved thousands, if not millions of lives, and is very close to meeting its goals. If it meets its goals, then there is no more suffering or death from polio forever, just to get one person. Even if this person was a murderous thug.

There was a time where polio was feared in the United States, there was a time were Americans suffered, children died. People lived in iron lungs, and we had a President with polio paralysis. (Franklin D. Roosevelt) Vaccination was so important that the The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to John Franklin Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller and Frederick Chapman Robbins "for their discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue." This lead to the development of the vaccine(s). We are removed from it, so now we don't seem to care about the others who aren't. There hasn't been polio in the North American continent since 1994.

The United States was so focused on Bin Ladin and catching him that they were willing to do whatever it took without thinking about the consequences of their actions. They had serious blinders on.



> The United States was so focused on Bin Ladin and catching him that they were willing to do whatever it took without thinking about the consequences of their actions. They had serious blinders on.

The message is: Don't mess with the US because "they be crazy, yo" and will go through whatever lengths to hit back even if it means endangering life on this very planet (also see: the Cold War).

It's bad, and there seems to be no power to keep it in check.

Yes. A grudge. Eradicating polio is in a completely different league than Osama and what he did. The whole WTC-terrorist subplot is an irrelevant non-issue compared with polio program. Also, the world is not contained within US borders.

Unfortunate side-effect

May be unfortunate, but it's also highly predictable. "Solving" one problem to create a much larger (longer-lasting) one has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy.

It's one of the parts that I kind of wish would/could have been kept under wraps. Publicizing how exactly we found the guy, no matter how exactly we did it, just doesn't seem constructive!

Frankly, even if true, and they actually vaccinated the children, I'd still consider it a positive.

I would also note that the taliban were against vaccination before this happened. So let's not pretend that this is the reason they're against it. It's just a reason to blame the cia.

You should think of these guys as that they don't actually believe. They're not muslims. They do believe, maybe even correctly, that their power is based upon that religion. And so they wildly attack anything remotely suspected of being against it. Meanwhile they themselves rape do drugs and alcohol and worse. And they attack aid workers, since the idea that only allah can heal, that they think essential.

> I would also note that the taliban were against vaccination before this happened. So let's not pretend that this is the reason they're against it

They may have been against it, but now they have justification to be against it. The CIA has given them a much stronger argument to warn people not to get vaccinated: it's a front for the CIA to find and kill people.

The CIA has politicized vaccination, and that was recklessly irresponsible.

>Frankly, even if true, and they actually vaccinated the children, I'd still consider it a positive.

To get hepatitis b immunity, You need to get two to three doses of vaccine. In this case children only got one. I don't think it was an effective immunization effort.


Even one would protect you for ~10 years. It would still have a profound positive effect. And yes, there are always better options in existence, and there is always a shortage of people wanting to pay for it.

I tough that the first dose of HBV vaccine doesn't give protection to every vaccinated person, only roughly 30-50%?

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/data/chi31-2_vaccination-ri... (paragraph starting with "Administer the full 3-dose HBV vaccine")

I'm interested where did you found an info about that 10years period of protection?

Ah, yes, the no true Muslim argument

His assassination also had the unfortunate side effect of turning him into a martyr that has attracted a lot of people to join Al Qaeda, making it stronger than it's been in years.

As opposed to what, putting him on "trial"?

Why did you put trial in quotes? (Genuinely curious) I was under the impression that that's what we did as a society with people suspected of major crimes. Even Nazi war criminals, people responsible for the suffering and death of untold millions, were put on trial.

The Nuremburg and Tokyo war trials were show trials. The US wanted to have trials, the UK just string the losers up post haste and the Soviet Union, the home of the show trial, was really thrilled.

There's no question some horrible people who did dreadful things were hanged as a result of those trials.

But nn such a context it's impossible to not to have any decision overshadowed as "victor's justice" no matter how seemingly legitimate. And there _was_ ambiguity in some cases. Example: the victor decides that "waging war" is the crime while the general from the losing side is professionally executing his judgement in fighting a battle. Or where the losers were punished for something that the winners also did (e.g. destruction of Dresden: terrible, ineffective in pursuit of the war, and completely understandable in context).

Basically trials, in this context, are solely to assuage the guilt of the victors. They are no more just than simply executing those the victors have decided are guilty.

BTW there was a lot of contemporary discussion on this; this is not an ex post facto opinion.

> The Nuremburg and Tokyo war trials were show trials.

In addition to Hans Fritzsche, Franz von Papen, and Hjalmar Schacht in Nuremberg, over 1,000 Japanese defendants were acquitted of war crimes in the trials in the Far East.

That seems a pretty staggering number of acquittals for "show trials," if you're using "show trial" in its normal sense, where a guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion.

If you just mean it would have been unlikely for Göring to mount a satisfactory defense, when he conspired to confiscate Jewish property after Kristallnacht and allowed the attempted extermination of the Hungarian Jews, you'd be right. But that has more to do with the nature of his involvement.

Consider the higher ranking Dönitz, effectively head of state. His defense actually worked fairly well, and he thus received a lighter sentence. (On charges that he sunk neutral vessels, his defense countered that the US had done the same, and he received no additional jail time for it. On charges that he waged unrestricted warfare against British merchants, he received a "not guilty" as his defense argued that they all supported the war effort, etc. He claimed that he didn't know anything about the policy in the camps, he was just a naval man. He received a 10 year sentence - that's lighter than some murderers get.)

I think it is important to point out that no one has been declared guilty of "waging war" at the Nuremberg Trials but for waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties and conspiring for such a war. (The full quote can be found under "Nuremberg Principles".) You are certainly right that such trials always will feel wrong and I'm sure a lawyer could bring up several good arguments why they are wrong.

I still think they are better than plain shooting someone because they indicate a willingness to follow higher standards than the other party. Moral high ground is important in conflicts motivated by ideology. On a tangent I also feel that the lack of moral high ground is why approval of U.S. foreign policy is declining among its allies and even more so among neutral countries.

You are correct that there were many problems and no small amount of hypocrisy involved in the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. (Much more so in the latter, but that's a different discussion)

But the point I was responding to was of the parent's usage of, what I interpreted to be, sarcasm quotes around the word trial; implying that the idea of trying Bin Ladin was ludicrous on it's face. I disagree. Despite all the valid criticism one can levy against any system of criminal justice, it's an important pillar of our society that when a crime has occurred, no matter how heinous or vile, the suspected perpetrators are apprehended, and evidence must be produced against them before punishment is meted out. We don't just take them out back and shoot them in the head, no matter how obvious we imagine their guilt to be. This process has value, despite it's many flaws in the way it's actually implemented.

Which society? The US isn't the ruler of the world. It can't purport to impose criminal jurisdiction on foreigners waging war against it, and any attempt to pretend to do so would be a sham. There is the domestic criminal justice system, and internationally there is only war between sovereign actors.

The US isn't the ruler of the world

63 countries have US military bases and troops, 156 countries have US troops (overlapping sets), 46 have no US military presence[0]. The Five Eyes are basically the US's subalterns in Empire. Outside of Russia , North Korea and China calling non US countries independent is a bit of a stretch. Classical international law certainly wouldn't have considered any country with another's military bases anything but a protectorate.

[0]www.miprox.de/USA_speziell/US-Military-Bases-Worldwide. jpg

That stretches it a bit. If a foreign base in your country makes you a protectorate, the USA is a protectorate of Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holloman_Air_Force_Base#German_...)

In other words: one should nuance that a bit. Yes, in NATO, he USA is by far the biggest player, and it contributes beyond its size, but protectorate stretches it, certainly in some cases.

>...Implying that the idea of trying Bin Ladin was ludicrous on > it's face. I disagree.

I'm with you. In fact it's a really a terrible shame that the original attack in 2001 was not treated as the work of gangsters, which it was, rather than an act of war, which it clearly was not. Once the latter path had been seized upon, war was waged back against....what? A movement?

The use of war vocabulary simply legitimized bin Laden in the eyes of many terrible people. He definitely surfed the US's response effectively.

All good except you have it the other way. Killing OBL was an unfortunate side-effect of setting back eradication of deadly diseases by many decades.

> It didn't help that it turned out the CIA were running "fake" vaccination campaigns to gather information though

Did they at least actually vaccinate people? I mean you can run a vaccination campaign as a front, which is already a pretty terrible thing to do (for reasons that vaccinations HAVE to be out of public suspicion), but the times when you have to play the part, at least have the decency to deliver actual vaccines.

Got some sources for this story? Risking anti-polio vaccination programs of large populations really doesn't seem like a fair trade-off for capturing a single person (or anything, really), even if they're the founder of Al-Qaeda. Now some of those health workers are dead, a bunch of people are going to be crippled, distrust against vaccination has grown in those areas, a large-scale humanitarian project has been sabotaged, but hey at least they got Bin Laden.

Not sure that it was a predictable outcome that the Taliban would decide to start acting against their own interests and kill anyone involved in any vaccination problems.

'Fake' - how? Not real vaccine? Citation

middleclick, perhaps you should read this Scientific American article:

How the CIA’s Fake Vaccination Campaign Endangers Us All

The U.S. was wrong to use health workers to target Osama bin Laden


Educated people it seems are just as likely to believe the ramblings of religious idiots.

This is the result of one of the biggest vaccination drives ever. Great work by India's central governement, various state governements, WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and various other NGOs and volunteers.

The Gates Foundation had a very significant role in this.

NO. The Gates foundation's contribution to this initiative spanning several decades is not very significant.

I suppose they may have only been involved since 2009, however the Foundation has already contributed $1.2 billion with another 1.8 billion on the way.

Of course, as you mentioned, much credit goes to "various governments, the WHO, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Unicef."

The work done by the Gates foundation is admirable. But the $1.2 billion was donated to the Rotary International for the Global Polio Eradication initiative, not exclusively to be used in India. In fact, it's not even clear if any of that was used in India at all. Moreover India itself has donated $1.3 billion for the Global Polio Eradication initiative.

The Gates foundation offered a $100 million matching grant to Rotary International's Polio Plus program in 2009. The intial matching grant and subsequent increases have been matched by Rotary's members.


The reason the Gates Foundation got involved was to help fund the final push to eradicate Polio.

Rotary international is a huge help. I've volunteered as a vaccinator over the summer last year. In the 2 months I was there, we traveled to over 14 cities, and vaccinated well over 10,000.

I must say this clearly, in the interest of that is the truth:

Eradication of Polio, was a Nation and its people, combined effort, of years and decades, through struggle and patience. First, the people in the West, who provided the means in form of the vaccine, and the constant push to keep the wheel running. Then the politicians, to set aside their differences, to accept what is for the good of all, both Congress/BJP held the govt and supported this cause without differences during the last 20 years. Thirdly the whole fraternity of Polio workers and Associated services for the time of their life. Fourthly, the families of the people involved for their patience, and sacrifice. And Last but not the least, for people specially parents accross all demographies to actually realize, the future of their kids, the promise of a normal life to their kids, the future generation of this nation is in their own hand. So they must come out in force-en-masse to achieve which is still far away, yet getting closer.. and today, in this time and age we have finally achieved what we set out to do years ago through a combined effort.

Now if someone as if dares to spit on that true wonder of human struggle, for personal satisfaction of supporting a political party, or a person.. putting them up as the lone saviour, disgrace and wrath of everything be upon such a person. (God have mercy on such a man)

Also, I love HN, as it is... dispite what Pushy Politics was played by forged accounts, and vested interests in the comment section of Indian Websites, HN was always clean of such mess, and I thank the people responsible for that. So, lets keep this that way.

This is Personal, if you haven't got it by now!


PS: The Punchline for Indian Polio program was-- Do Boond Zindagi Ke(2 Drops of Life)

One of the adverts (WITH ENG SUBS): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbCEualxnRs

"India frees itself from polio"

Manages, makes it sound like a fluke. They could have used a better verb for an amazing achievement. It was a very big grassroot level movement for decades.

I think they mean manages because it was a very difficult achievement with significant hurdles. It's like if I had a difficult time with school but I worked hard at it and I say "I managed to graduate."

I like "Manages" it gives them full credit for the work they did...A manager takes care of details to encourage a project's success...no fluke there unless you're talking about a 'pointy haired boss' type of manager.

In that case it describes how they did it. Quickly, slowly, etc. 'Manages' in that case is not a flattering word.

Unfortunately there's a massive outbreak in Syria right now, big enough I was encouraged to get a booster shot before I went to Israel.

Only if you consider 17 cases in the past year "massive" and no cases in the last 3 months.


In 2013 polio came through Egypt (probably) to Israel and Syria. Israel had to return to regular OPV when regular sewage tests returned positive, but no case of infection was reported.

Not even 100 years before even the most powerful man in the world could do nothing to fight this disease, now even the least fortunate can avoid having to suffer from this. A great victory for humankind.

Fantastic news. The chances of humanity actually managing to get its shit together and make it past this century just ticked up a tiny tiny amount.

Am I the only one who can't read this because it requires some kind of login?

Copy and past the headline into a Google search. Paywalls generally don't block links from social media or search engines.

Link that should take you straight there:


(Details: Google actually serves redirect pages in its results page, to track which results are clicked. I copied the URL I was served rather than clicking it and allowing my browser to redirect, so you can click it too and look like you're coming from Google :). )

Try clearing cookies or using incognito mode.

Which by itself is great news.

The Indian program involves giving multiple doses of the oral vaccine to babes (Pulse Polio). Unfortunately the number of does of the oral vaccine babies receive is correlated with AFP - Accute Flacid Paralysis - a tragedy similar to the paralysis caused by polio. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/polio-free-does-not-mea... In some states babies are getting over a dozen doses.

A move to the injectible vaccine will reduce this risk, but since the injectible vaccine costs a lot more it's likely the coverage will fall.

I'd characterize that article as saying it "may be" correlated at strongest - sounds like the WHO says oral doses have been decreasing for years while AFP cases were still increasing?

As long as a rogue agent doesn't get their hands on this:


Nature has plenty of weapons all her own for someone to pick from.

Viruses are the only way to change the DNA of a living human, and that's the only way you're ever going to cure cancer, or fix things like diabetes, or ... Plus it would allow for far more effective treatments for nearly any disease.

If you ever want to be immortal, or even 150, it's an infection with a virus that'll make it possible. This research is definitely a net positive.

Won't CRISPR work in the future, instead of using viruses? It's almost there.

> Viruses are the only way to change the DNA of a living human

Not entirely true. Radiation exposure will also alter one's DNA. It may not be the desired result, but it will alter one's DNA nonetheless.

Viruses are the only way to change the DNA of a living human

Radiation can also change the DNA, and radiotherapy can also be used to cure some cancers.

There's a difference between "change" as in "modify in a precise manner without killing the organism", "change" as in "mutate stuff randomly", and "change" as in "breed, irradiate, let the weak die, repeat until you have a population with characteristics you want". Viruses can do the first one; radiation only the latter two.

You're assuming that humans attaining immortality is a good thing. That's anything but a foregone conclusion.

What?! Could you please point to a logical system of views and values that would not assume indefinitely prolonging human life is a good thing?

For prolonging life 'indefinitely', I'd say it's anything but a foregone conclusion. Possible issues:

The world population is getting bigger and bigger. AFAIK, we don't have a real solid idea how many people the Earth can really support. Growth seems to be tapering off a bit now, which is probably a good thing. If we keep the same birth rate and massively decrease the death rate, the population will boom fast. I have to doubt that our society is equipped to deal with these issues well right now.

A great deal of social advancement seems to come from older generations dying off, and taking their prejudices, grudges, and viewpoints with them. What will our society look like if large numbers of people stop dying off eventually? I have nothing solid here, but it's something we ought to look at real hard before we go around extending lifespans indefinitely.

Basically, I meant what ufmace said - it would likely cause a lot of social problems, and a lot of advancement of thought comes about due to the old generations dying off, and new generations coming of age in the new environment. The new group is always better adapted for the new environment of that later era than the old one is (an easy current example of this is the difference between baby boomers and teenagers when it comes to facility with computers)

Adaptability is the thing that has enabled humans to thrive to this point, and immortality would cause a serious dent in our adaptability, unless we also gained the ability to easily radically alter our worldviews, unlearning the concepts that cemented themselves in our brains during our adolescence.

Immortality could be very bad for the country that invents it, as they quickly relics of the past.

First, there does not exist a known logical system that is more complex than first order logic. In order for such a system to exist, it would at the very least be able to prove it's own consistency, otherwise it's merely a wild guess whether it's "logical" or not. Since that premise itself violates logic (a proof exists that the only consistent logical systems that prove their own consistency are wrong). So when it comes to "a logical system of views and values", that does not exist.

When it comes to systems of views and values that do not assume indefinitely prolonging human life is a good thing :

1) all religions (meaning this is what > 6 billion people on this planet think)

2) when it comes to people over 75 or so, I find it very rare to find ones that don't want to die. It baffles me that I actually know people that old other than my grandfather. I'm getting old. Oh well.

3) various atheist systems of views and values, all boil down to malthusianism of course, but they include : socialism (communism/marxism/leninism and "other" socialist views), nazism, libertarians (to some extent, according to wikipedia), conservatives, "free market enthousiasts", feminists and human rights advocates. [1]

4) economics would have a few words to say on the subject.

I don't think it's as simple as you propose. I may or may not chose to become immortal ... but I'd still like the option.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusianism

> This research is definitely a net positive.

I couldn't agree more, but that knowledge can be abused.

How I can make it go viral? Congrats, its a big news.

> How I can make it go viral?

You can't. They're all vaccinated now. ;)

Indian regime is spending $1 billion/year on space research when 50% of its children are malnourished.



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