Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, announced its further commitment to the international community’s efforts to complete polio eradication. UNICEF, the organization that procures the vaccine to meet global needs, announced it will purchase significant quantities of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) from Sanofi Pasteur and make it available based on country needs and vaccination plans. To achieve the goal of polio eradication by 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that by end 2015, all children receive routinely at least one dose of IPV in over 120 countries that solely use Oral Polio Vaccine.
In order to support rapid and widespread adoption of IPV, Sanofi Pasteur – the world’s largest producer of IPV – and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have developed a joint price support mechanism, including a financial contribution from both organizations. This mechanism allows Sanofi Pasteur to offer IPV at a price of €0.75 per dose (approximately US$ 1) to 73 of the world’s poorest countries. The GAVI Alliance, a global immunisation partnership, will make IPV available for inclusion in routine immunisation schedules in these countries.
This announcement underscores Sanofi Pasteur’s commitment to offer unparalleled volumes of high-quality IPV across a broad range of countries and economic situations at differential prices in an unprecedented, global rollout.
“The World Health Organization welcomes today’s announcement to reduce the cost of this effective polio vaccine, it is a significant step forward in the fight against polio.” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “This development is a strong signal that polio eradication partners remain fully committed to a world without polio.”
“Reducing the price of IPV for the world’s poorest countries is helping remove the cost of the vaccine as a barrier to achieving a polio-free world. This is a significant advancement to ensure every child, no matter where they live, will benefit from access to this essential vaccine,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The people of Sanofi Pasteur are proud to help the world get rid of polio, as part of our public health mission,” said Olivier Charmeil, the CEO of Sanofi Pasteur. “Thanks to our longstanding commitment to polio eradication — in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, CDC, Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — we are making it possible to finish the job,” he added.
“Today marks a big step forward in the global effort to tackle polio by accelerating the universal use of Inactivated Polio Vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “We expect the first countries will introduce IPV with GAVI support later this year. We are entering an exciting phase for polio and new efforts to strengthen routine immunisation which should see even more children benefit from the power of vaccines.”
The introduction of IPV, a vaccine that has been used in the majority of the developed world for years, in 120 countries is a necessary step toward achieving a polio-free world by 2018. The GPEI Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018, which was endorsed by 194 countries in 2013, offers a comprehensive roadmap that includes ending polio transmission, improving routine immunization rates and creating a lasting blueprint for addressing other significant global health challenges. Introducing at least one dose of IPV and switching progressively over the next few years from an oral polio vaccine (OPV) to IPV is critical to ending transmission and improving immunization rates. Because OPV contains a very weakened form of the live polio virus, the global plan calls for OPV to be progressively replaced with the inactivated, injectable vaccine as the world moves into the final stages of polio eradication.
Sanofi Pasteur has made significant investments in modern technology to produce very large quantities of IPV — up to 300 million doses a year. As well as this substantial investment in production capacity, Sanofi Pasteur support to IPV now includes development of a five-dose vial presentation (as well as the standard ten-dose vial presentation) to reduce wastage, a massive regulatory and licensing program in about 100 countries and expert contributions on scientific, program and technical questions.
Sanofi Pasteur, as a leader in providing both OPV and IPV, has been a partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for over 20 years. The company has provided more than five billion doses of OPV to UNICEF over last two decades. In 1982, Sanofi Pasteur registered the first enhanced-potency inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which is now distributed globally as a stand-alone poliovirus vaccine as well as in combination paediatric vaccines to immunize against many diseases in a single shot. Since then, Sanofi Pasteur has distributed more than 800 million doses of IPV and IPV-containing vaccines.
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