Wild Poliovirus Type 3 Eradicated Worldwide

Wild Poliovirus Type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a branch of the World Health Organization.

Wild Poliovirus Type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a branch of the World Health Organization. 1

The announcement came Thursday, on World Polio Day, and represents a historic achievement for humanity and a milestone for global health, according to GPEI.

There are 3 individual, immunologically-distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2), and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3). All 3 strains are identical, causing irreversible paralysis or death. However, there are genetic and virologic differences, which makes each strain a separate virus that would need to be eradicated individually.1

WPV2 was eradicated in 2015, making WPV3 the second strain of the poliovirus to be officially wiped out. The last case of WPV3 was identified in northern Nigeria in 2012. Verifying that this strain is truly eradicated comes from the help of investments in skilled workers, innovative tools, and a global network of laboratories. 1

On Friday, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and GPEI Polio Oversight Board, released a statement to thank everyone who made this achievement possible. 2

“Global wild poliovirus type 3 eradication is a tremendous achievement and is an important milestone on the road to eradicate all poliovirus strains,” Ghebreyesus said. “This shows us that the tactics are working, as individual family lines of the virus are being successfully knocked out.”2

Even with this accomplishment, Ghebreyesus emphasizes that there is still more to do. “But the job is not finished until ALL strains of poliovirus are fully eradicated — and stay eradicated,” Ghebreyesus said in his statement. “We must achieve final success or face the consequences of renewed global resurgence of this ancient scourge. We must eradicate the remaining strains of WPV1 and also address the increasing circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks, in particular in Africa.” 2

REFERENCES

  • Two out of three wild poliovirus strains eradicated [news release]. Geneva, Switzerland; October 24, 2019: Global Polio Eradication Initiative Newsroom. http://polioeradication.org/news-post/two-out-of-three-wild-poliovirus-strains-eradicated/. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  • WHO DG: Thank you to all who made WPV3-free world possible [news release]. Geneva, Switzerland; Global Polio Eradication Initiative Newsroom: October 25, 2019. http://polioeradication.org/news-post/day-after-wpv3-declared-as-eradicated-who-dg-thanks-all-stakeholders-who-made-this-possible/. Accessed October 25, 2019.