Panacea Biotec launches polio vaccine in Nigeria

Updated: Feb 24, 2012, 18:49 PM IST

Abuja: A leading Indian pharmaceutical company has launched polio vaccine POLPROTEC in Nigeria to help combat the spread of the debilitating disease in this country, one of the last nations still to eradicate the virus.

To make the vaccine easily available, Panacea Biotec is partnering Emzor pharma which has a strong footprint across Nigeria. The country is still facing the challenge of polio virus.

During the launch, Panacea and Emzor made a public declaration of a Joint Polio-Free Mission "to contribute towards achieving the goal of global polio eradication and to ensure that no child will ever again be paralysed by Wild Polio Virus (WPV) or Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus (VDPV)."

This would be achieved by providing complete portfolio of
Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV), Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and IPV based combination vaccine at an affordable price.

The two firms noted that this is the first time IPV is launched in Nigeria and that India has slowly moved out of PAIN (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria), referred to as the only four polio endemic countries in the world.

India has not registered any case of polio in last one year.

"So the onus is on us to defeat polio in Nigeria and this requires lot of deliberation and commitment from each one of us," Dorothy O Esangbedo, the president of Pediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), said during the launch at Ile Ife town near Nigeria`s economic capital of Lagos.

"The initiative of IPV along with OPV will limit transmission of endemic Wild Polio Virus (WPV) type 1 and type 3 and will totally overcome inherent limitations of OPV like: `Vaccine Derived polio Virus (VDPV), Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis(VAPP) and variable Vaccine Efficacy
(VE)," said Shafi Kolhapure of Panacea Biotec.

"We are very happy to be associated with Panacea Biotec Ltd for this noble cause to eradicate polio among Nigerian Children. We are committed to eradicate polio from the world and we will ensure that no child will ever again be paralysed by Wild Polio Virus or Vaccine-derived Poliovirus", said, Dr. Stella Okoli, Group MD, Emzor Pharma.

In 1988, the World Health Assembly launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which was effective in reducing the number of polio cases worldwide but reinfection from countries like Nigeria made the endemic to rebound in 2009 to 2010.


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