Over the centuries, polio has crippled many lives. In 1988, close to 1,000 cases of paralytic polio were recorded every day in 125 endemic countries.1 It was at that point that the World Health Organization (WHO) took action and launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Sanofi Pasteur has been involved from its inception, working alongside the GPEI and other key partners including UNICEF, CDC, Rotary International, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It has provided more than 6 billion doses of oral polio vaccine and more than 1 billion doses of injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and combination vaccines containing IPV. The fight against polio has resulted in a 99% decrease since 1988.2 We are on the brink of a polio free world.
In 2019, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries left in the world with endemic wild polio. In Pakistan, 72 new cases have been reported this year alone. As stated by the WHO, the increase in cases this year is of serious concern.3
While significant progress has been made, Sanofi continues working to ensure that this progress is not undone. As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio.4
1 https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/poliomyelitis Accessed September 2019.
2 https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/poliomyelitis Accessed September 2019.
3 https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/29-05-2019-statement-of-the-twenty-first-ihr-emergency-committee Accessed September 2019.
4 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/poliomyelitis Accessed September 2019.
5 Inactivated polio vaccine now introduced worldwide, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, May 9, 2019