Geneva, 13th November 2020 – WHO listed the nOPV2 vaccine (Bio Farma, Indonesia) for emergency use to address the rising cases of a vaccine-derived polio strain in a number of African and East Mediterranean countries. Countries in WHO’s Western Pacific and South- East Asia regions are also affected by these outbreaks. The emergency use listing, or EUL, is the first of its kind for a vaccine and paves the way for potential listing of COVID-19 vaccines.
The world has made incredible progress toward polio eradication, reducing polio cases by 99.9% in the last 30 years. But the last steps to ending this disease are proving the most difficult, particularly with continuing outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio viruses (cVDPVs).
cVDPVs are rare and occur if the weakened strain of the poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) circulates among under-immunized populations for a long time. If not enough children are immunized against polio, the weakened virus can pass between individuals and over time genetically revert to a form that can cause paralysis. Type 2 cVDPVs are currently the most prevalent form of the vaccine-derived virus.
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