Updated on 5 March 2014
"The people of Sanofi Pasteur are proud to help the world get rid of polio, as part of our public health mission," said Olivier Charmeil, the ceo of Sanofi Pasteur. "Thanks to our longstanding commitment to polio eradication - in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, CDC, Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - we are making it possible to finish the job," he added.
"Today marks a big step forward in the global effort to tackle polio by accelerating the universal use of Inactivated Polio Vaccine," said Dr Seth Berkley, ceo of the GAVI Alliance. "We expect the first countries will introduce IPV with GAVI support later this year. We are entering an exciting phase for polio and new efforts to strengthen routine immunisation which should see even more children benefit from the power of vaccines."
The introduction of IPV, a vaccine that has been used in the majority of the developed world for years, in 120 countries is a necessary step toward achieving a polio-free world by 2018. The GPEI Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018, which was endorsed by 194 countries in 2013, offers a comprehensive roadmap that includes ending polio transmission, improving routine immunization rates and creating a lasting blueprint for addressing other significant global health challenges. Introducing at least one dose of IPV and switching progressively over the next few years from an oral polio vaccine (OPV) to IPV is critical to ending transmission and improving immunization rates. Because OPV contains a very weakened form of the live polio virus, the global plan calls for OPV to be progressively replaced with the inactivated, injectable vaccine as the world moves into the final stages of polio eradication.