China’s Sinovac Biotech has received prequalification from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its Poliomyelitis Vaccine (Vero Cell, Inactivated Sabin strains) (sIPV).

With the latest development, the vaccine will be made available for procurement by the United Nations (UN) agencies to support the worldwide polio endgame approach.

The sIPV of the company is intended for active immunisation against polioviruses Type 1, 2, and 3 in children and infants of the age two months and above. 

The basic immunisation regimen is three doses, the first of which is given to infants when they are two months old, followed by two further doses at a gap of four to six weeks. 

Furthermore, at the age of 18 months, a booster dose should be injected.

If required, children of other age groups can receive the vaccine. 

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This vaccine could be administered sequentially with oral polio attenuated live vaccine (OPV).

In a press statement, Sinovac said: “With the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, countries where wild polio strains still exist have experienced an increasing prevalence of polio cases. 

“Some other countries also reported more vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) and vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) cases due to the virus circulating in the environment and human body, especially with the number of VAPP cases reaching a peak over the past ten years.

“Sinovac will work closely with global public health institutions to promote the final step of polio eradication.”

An infectious disease, polio is caused by the poliovirus and mainly impacts children under the age of five years. 

Fever, general malaise and, in severe cases, limb pain and unevenly distributed and mild flaccid paralysis are the key symptoms of polio.