The World Health Organisation has announced that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide. Following the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2, this news represents a historic achievement for humanity.
“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board.
There are three wild poliovirus strains — wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3). WPV3 is the second strain of the poliovirus to be wiped out, following the certification of the eradication of WPV2 in 2015.
According to a release, the last case of WPV3 was detected in northern Nigeria in 2012. Investments in skilled workers, innovative tools and a global network of laboratories have helped determine that no WPV3 exists anywhere in the world, apart from specimens locked in secure containment.
To mark the occasion, an event was held at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, presented the official certificate of WPV3 eradication to Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Wild poliovirus type 3 is globally eradicated,” said Professor Salisbury. “