why does it matter: Combination vaccinations can extend life.
Oral polio vaccines, given as drops, have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent in recent decades. But because the drops contain Live viruses – detectable in the stool of children who receive the vaccine – the virus can spread and cause new infections in countries with poor sanitation. The new vaccine will not have this problem.
“More children today, in 2023, will be crippled from the spread of vaccine-derived polio than from wild polio,” he said. Dr. James Campbellan expert in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who studies vaccine development.
He called Gavi’s approval an “important step” in suppressing the virus globally because it would give children in low- and middle-income countries access to the product that pediatricians in the United States and Europe have long offered.
The injection is also expected to help prevent infection due to its logistical ease. Because the polio vaccine will be encapsulated in a compound product already distributed to children, scientists say countries that use it will be less likely to have a resurgence of polio once they scale back oral vaccines.
background: Polio remains strongholds in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Polio, officially known as poliomyelitis, is a highly contagious viral disease transmitted mainly by fecal route in places with poor sanitation. The virus multiplies in the intestines and invades the nervous system, causing paralysis. Experts say that even one case that already exists is problematic, as it could lead to a global recovery.
The United States has long used inactivated polio vaccine, or IPV, instead of oral drops, And Gavi has helped low-income countries buy it for the past 10 years. But the new six-in-one vaccine, called hexavalent, will also protect children against hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
Adding polio protection to the five-component vaccine would raise its cost, but public health officials say the move is still economically beneficial. Lower doses of the vaccine in general It will help reduce the small expenses that pile up, including syringes, serum refrigerators, and appointments with health workers.
What then: A global offering is on the horizon.
Countries served by Gavi will now be able to apply for funding for the vaccine, which could become available as early as 2024. It’s given in three doses during the first months of life – plus a subsequent booster dose before the age of two – and UNICEF has done so. It is estimated that the global market for the new vaccine could reach 100 million annual doses by 2030.