Boost to polio campaign

Child receiving oral polio vaccine

A new vaccine against polio is being touted as the boost needed to finally achieve eradication.

The vaccine known as bOPV (for bivalent oral polio vaccine), was tested against the current vaccine in India — where polio stubbornly persists — and found by researchers to be about 30-40 percent more effective in preventing infection by two main strains of the polio virus. The study was reported Tuesday in The Lancet.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization announced it will launch a major new vaccination campaign across Africa. Since the global campaign to eradicate polio was launched in 1988, with major assistance from Rotary International and more recently from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, polio cases worldwide have been reduced by 99 percent.

Polio remains endemic in four countries — India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — but if not eradicated could easily spread again into other countries and perhaps worldwide. Funding for the polio campaign remains another hurdle as donors have so far only funded about half of what’s been estimated as needed to complete the campaign as part of the global vaccination initiative.

Also in polio news today, though it shouldn’t have been, were various stories that reported Ted Turner announced in Nigeria plans to donate anywhere from $80 million to $1 billion to the polio campaign.

Turned out it wasn’t true.

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About Author

Editor Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom-at-humanosphere.org, follow him on Twitter @tompaulson and/or send a comment below.

  • Thomas Mcvey

    Thanks for including Rotary in the story. Rotary members have worked tirelessly for years to push this disease to the brink of eradication.