Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi is donating to the World Health Organization a vaccine strain used for polio eradication. The biological material given by Sanofi Pasteur is the original viral seed used to produce large quantities of oral polio vaccines against type 3 poliovirus. With this donation from Sanofi Pasteur, WHO will be in full control of the storage of the vaccine strain and its distribution to vaccine producers worldwide.
“Sanofi Pasteur is a leading contributor to the fight against polio and committed supporter of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,” said Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur. “We have provided polio type 3 viral seeds free of charge to polio vaccine manufacturers worldwide for the last 30 years. This donation is a logical next step to our 30-year unconditional support to OPV producers and a demonstration of our continued commitment to public health.”
Since 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF, has achieved a 99% reduction of the number of polio cases worldwide. Polio is caused by three strains of poliovirus, types 1, 2 and 3. Wild poliovirus type 2 has already been eliminated, and it is hoped that polio type 1 and 3 will be eradicated within a few years, definitively wiping polio from the surface of the earth.
OPV is instrumental for the roll-out of nationwide immunization days. The OPV type 3 vaccine strain was officially recommended in 1990 by WHO as the standard for producing oral polio vaccine type 3.