Fighting Polio’s Comeback

For the first time, the WHO is poised to clear a vaccine for emergency use—and it’s not for COVID-19.
 
The vaccine, a decade in the making, is designed to protect against a vaccine-derived polio strain that is rapidly spreading in the Southern Hemisphere, Naturereports.

Though the bulk of cases are in Afghanistan and Pakistan—where vaccine efforts have been gutted in Taliban-controlled areas—it’s now spreading across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, NPR reports.

Despite the 3-decade, $17-billion global campaign to wipe out the disease, millions of people potentially have no immunity to vaccine-derived polio, making the emergency vaccine approvala potential game-changer. 
 
Vaccine-derived polio is caused by remnants of older forms of the virus used in the oral polio vaccine, which can be shed through feces and spread through wastewater in areas of poor sanitation.

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