Three-and-a-half million doses of the newly developed polio vaccine NOPV2 have now been distributed in 18 high-risk countries, an achievement according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) as a “significant development for eradication efforts”.
The new oral polio vaccine was developed to better address the continued exposure to type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (CVDPV), a rare, mutated variant of polio, in severely under-immunized communities with adequate sanitation access. found less.
While rare, cVDPV has increased in recent years, with fewer than 1,000 cases reported in the past decade.
The new vaccine has become the first to be authorized under the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing mechanism, which allows access to unlicensed vaccines during public health emergencies such as polio outbreaks.
“The spread of vaccine-derived poliovirus remains an equally alarming threat to countries,” GPEI said in a press release on May 25. “Through the rollout of a new vaccine to combat the most prevalent form of these outbreaks, cVDPV2, transmission has been halted in most countries that have deployed the device.”
According to the GPEI, the vaccine is “triple-locked using genetic engineering to prevent it from becoming harmful.” Benin, Congo, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are some of the 18 high-risk countries that have received nOPV2 so far.
Earlier in May, at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, the GPEI released its polio eradication strategy for the next four years. Despite a 47% drop in vaccine-derived polio cases between 2020 and 2021, and only five cases of wild polio reported last year, the initiative says the world cannot be complacent.
Wild polio is endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and, in 2022, a case occurred in Malawi, the first since 1992.
On 18 May, Mozambique similarly announced a wild polio case for the first time in three decades.
GPEI will hold a replenishment program in Germany this October in hopes of securing fresh financial support.
“A robust and fully funded polio program will benefit health systems around the world,” said Germany’s Parliamentary Secretary of State, Niels Ainen. This October marks the moment of the Polio Pledge for donors and partners to reiterate their support for polio-free A momentous occasion of the world.”
If its strategy is fully funded, GPEI will be able to vaccinate 370 million children over the next five years.
Anon said: “We can only be successful if we make polio eradication our shared priority.”