Zinc supplementation fails to increase the immunogenicity of oral poliovirus vaccine: a randomized controlled trial

Document Type



Women and Child Health; Paediatrics and Child Health


Background: Polio eradication remains a challenge in Pakistan and the causes for the failure to eradicate poliomyelitis are complex. Undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, especially zinc deficiency, are major public health problems in Pakistan and could potentially affect the response to enteric vaccines, including oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV).
Objective: To assess the impact of zinc supplementation among infants on immune response to oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV).
Methods: A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted in newborns (aged 0–14 days). Subjects were assigned to either receive 10 mg of zinc or placebo supplementation daily for 18 weeks. Both groups received OPV doses at birth, at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks. Data was collected on prior immunization status, diarrheal episodes, breastfeeding practices and anthropometric measurements at recruitment and at 6 and 18 weeks. Blood samples were similarly collected to determine the antibody response to OPV and for micronutrient analysis. Logistic regression was used to determine the relationship between seroconversion and zinc status. Results: Overall, 404 subjects were recruited. At recruitment, seropositivity was already high for poliovirus (PV) serotype 1 (zinc: 91.1%; control: 90.5%) and PV2 (90.0%; 92.7%), with lower estimates for PV3 (70.0%; 64.8%). By week 18, the proportion of subjects with measured zinc levels in the normal range (i.e. ≥60 μg/dL) was significantly greater in the intervention group compared to the control group (71.9%; 27.4%; p < 0.001). No significant difference in seroconversion was demonstrated between the groups for PV1, PV2, or PV3.
Conclusions: There was no effect of zinc supplementation on OPV immunogenicity. These conclusions were confirmed when restricting the analysis to those with measured higher zinc levels

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