Global Community Must Step Up Fight To Eradicate Polio After Setbacks In 2019, Washington Post Editorial Says
Washington Post: 2019 saw a major setback in fighting polio
“…The goal of eradication seemed at least possible when there were only eight cases in 2017, and 12 cases in 2018. Now, the latest data show there have been 128 cases of polio in Pakistan in the past year. Moreover, the global campaign to eradicate polio, which began in 1988, is facing a whole new set of uncertainties. … Unfortunately in Pakistan, political instability, population mobility, and violence driven by intolerance have made it hard to reach all children for vaccination. … No global eradication effort can be successful without Pakistan. This year must see progress against these serious obstacles, which are caused by human behavior, not virology. … The [switch from a trivalent to a bivalent polio vaccine, excluding poliovirus type 2,] in April 2016 was made with a realization that some type 2 outbreaks were possible if the vaccine-derived strain reverted. Now this has occurred, to a far greater extent than anticipated, especially in Africa. There have been 47 outbreaks in 20 countries since the switch, some very difficult to stop. … Global health officials are rushing to get ready by this summer a new type 2 vaccine that won’t revert to active and is believed to be effective. Hopefully it will work. Otherwise a major strategy shift may be required in one of the world’s most difficult battles against disease” (1/8).