Lancet Global Health
Jun 2021 Volume 9 Number 6 e721-e879
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Polio eradication at the crossroads
Konstantin Chumakov, PhD , Ellie Ehrenfeld, PhD †, ., Prof Eckard Wimmer, PhD
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, launched in 1988 with anticipated completion by 2000, has yet to reach its ultimate goal. The recent surge of polio cases urgently calls for a reassessment of the programme’s current strategy and a new design for the way forward. We propose that the sustainable protection of the world population against paralytic polio cannot be achieved simply by stopping the circulation of poliovirus but must also include maintaining high rates of population immunity indefinitely, which can be created and maintained by implementing global immunisation programmes with improved poliovirus vaccines that create comprehensive immunity without spawning new virulent viruses. The proposed new strategic goal of eradicating the disease rather than the virus would lead to a sustainable eradication of poliomyelitis while simultaneously promoting immunisation against other vaccine-preventable diseases.