A novel vaccine that may aid in the global effort to eliminate polio and prevent its recurrence was approved this week by the governing board of Gavi, an international organisation that delivers vaccinations to disadvantaged countries.
The new vaccine is not like the polio vaccinations now used in several poor and medium income countries, which contain live viruses. To a vaccine that already protects youngsters from five other serious diseases, it adds what is known as an inactivated polio component. The United States and certain European nations already have access to a comparable injection.
In recent decades, instances of polio have been reduced by more than 99 percent because to oral polio vaccinations given as droplets. However, in countries with poor sanitation, the virus may spread and cause new illnesses since the drops contain live viruses, which can be detected in the faeces of children who receive the vaccination. This is not an issue with the new vaccination.
Because it will allow paediatricians in the United States and Europe to provide a medicine that has long been available to children in the United States and Europe, he referred to the Gavi approval as a “important step” towards quelling the virus internationally.
Because of its convenience, the injection is also thought to aid in the prevention of infections. Researchers believe that nations that employ a combined product that includes the polio vaccination would have less of a return of the disease when oral immunisations are phased out.
The poliovirus, often known as poliomyelitis, is extremely contagious and spreads mostly via faeces in areas with inadequate sanitation. The virus replicates in the colon, then spreads to the neurological system, where it might eventually cause paralysis. Experts warn that even a single extant instance poses a worldwide revival risk.
Gavi has been providing financial assistance to low-income nations for the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) over the last decade. Children will be protected against not just pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria, and tetanus but also hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae, and tetanus.
While adding polio protection to the current five-component vaccine would increase its price, public health authorities argue that doing so is still cost-effective. By administering fewer vaccines, costs associated with syringes, serum refrigeration, and doctor’s visits may be reduced.
Gavi-eligible countries may now apply for vaccine financing, meaning the vaccine could hit the market as early as 2024. According to UNICEF, the worldwide market for the new vaccine may reach 100 million yearly doses by 2030. It is given in three doses during the first months of life, with a further booster injection before the age of 2.