The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) claims 350 million doses of the newly produced polio vaccine nOPV2 have already been disseminated across 18 high-risk countries, marking a “major development for eradication efforts.”
The new oral polio vaccine was created to address the ongoing threat of type 2 circulation immunization poliovirus (cVDPV), an uncommon, evolved form of polio seen in chronically under-immunized communities with poor sanitation.
cVDPV has become more common in recent years, with 100 or fewer instances reported in the last decade.
The new vaccine is the first to be approved through the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing system, which allows unlicensed vaccinations to be used in public health emergencies such as polio outbreaks.
The GPEI stated in a news release on May 25 that “epidemics of circulation immunisation poliovirus continue to represent an equally dangerous threat to countries.” “Transmission has been halted in the majority of nations that have used the instrument, thanks to the release of a new vaccination to combat the most common variant of these outbreaks, cVDPV2.”
The vaccine has been “triple-locked utilizing genetically engineered to prevent it becoming hazardous,” according to the GPEI. Among the 18 increased nations that have gotten nOPV2 thus far are Congo, Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The GPEI published its four-year polio eradication strategy earlier this month at the 75th World Health Organization in Geneva. Despite a 47% drop in floating vaccine-derived polio infections between 2020 and 2021, and only five instances of uncontrolled polio documented last year, the initiative warns that the world cannot relax.
Wild polio is still widespread in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a case was reported in Malawi in 2022, the first in the country since 1992.
For the very first time in three decades, Mozambique reported a highly infectious case on May 18.
In October, the GPEI will organize a replenishment event in Germany in the hopes of regaining financial support.
“A vigorous and funded entirely polio campaign will assist health systems all around the world,” Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary Niels Annen stated. “This October’s polio pledging event is a key chance for donors and partners to reaffirm their commitment to a polio-free future.”
If the GPEI’s strategy is fully funded, it’ll be ready to protect 370 million children throughout the next five years.
“We can only achieve this if we consider polio elimination our shared priority,” Annen remarked.