The polio eradication campaign is faltering. Can a new vaccine help it get back on track? – Science Magazine

A girl receives the oral polio vaccine in Egypt, a candidate country for the introduction of a new vaccine less likely to cause outbreaks. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is about to roll out a brand-new vaccine—one that its leaders desperately hope will turn the flagging effort around. If it works as expected, the vaccine just might overcome one of the biggest obstacles to polio eradication: out-of-control outbreaks caused by mutant polio strains derived from the vaccine itself. If not, GPEI will be back to dousing each outbreak with a vaccine that risks starting another, as eradication slips further from sight.

The new vaccine is so urgently needed that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has paid for nearly 200 million doses to be produced by an Indonesian manufacturer “at risk,” even before clinical trials are complete. The World Health Organization (WHO) is ready to grant an emergency use listing, a new approval mechanism never before used for a vaccine, as soon as Indonesia’s regulatory authority gives the product the nod. The first drops could be delivered in several countries by the end of the year.

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