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Polio: The Story so Far

For many countries, polio outbreaks are a distant memory, with 80% of the world’s population now living in certified polio-free regions. However, in certain countries around the world, polio remains a very real threat, particularly to children under the age of 5. According to the WHO, the failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining polio strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.1

Progress towards polio eradication can be seen in the below heatmap, documenting the decline of disease incidence since 1980.

But the wild polio virus is only one side of the story.
The oral polio vaccine has played an important role in the journey towards eradication. However, on rare occasions, if a population is seriously under-immunized, an excreted vaccine-virus can continue to circulate for an extended period of time. In rare instances, the vaccine-virus can genetically change into a form that can paralyze–this is known as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV).2

Two types of polio vaccines - animation
cVDPV Cases: Affected Countries

Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) cases in the world (as of October 29)

This additional threat from cVDPV is a growing focus in the fight for polio eradication, with cases primarily on the African continent and with isolated cases also emerging in South East Asia. The heatmap illustrates the volume of cases from affected countries over the past 5 years.

With the right approach, polio can be prevented and eradicated. This is seen above in the effective containment response following the outbreak in Syria in 2017.
Sanofi Pasteur’s goal is to ensure that no child will suffer from the paralytic effects of polio in the generations to come.

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