Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY), announced today it is donating to the World Health Organization (WHO) a vaccine strain used for polio eradication.
The biological material given by Sanofi Pasteur is the original viral seed used to produce large quantities of oral polio vaccines (OPV) against type 3 poliovirus. With this donation from Sanofi Pasteur, WHO will be in full control of the storage of the vaccine strain and its distribution to vaccine producers worldwide.
"Sanofi Pasteur is a leading contributor to the fight against polio and committed supporter of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative," said Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur. "We have provided polio type 3 viral seeds free of charge to polio vaccine manufacturers worldwide for the last 30 years. This donation is a logical next step to our 30-year unconditional support to OPV producers and a demonstration of our continued commitment to public health."
Since 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, has achieved a 99% reduction of the number of polio cases worldwide. Polio is caused by three strains of poliovirus, types 1, 2 and 3. Wild poliovirus type 2 has already been eliminated, and it is hoped that polio type 1 and 3 will be eradicated within a few years, definitively wiping polio from the surface of the earth.
OPV is instrumental for the roll-out of nationwide immunization days. The OPV type 3 vaccine strain was officially recommended in 1990 by WHO as the standard for producing oral polio vaccine (OPV) type 3.
Sanofi Pasteur in the fight against polio
Sanofi Pasteur has been supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since its launch in 1988. Recently, Sanofi Pasteur responded to a UNICEF request by committing to provide 400 million doses of OPV in 2011-2012 for use in developing countries. Over the past decades, Sanofi Pasteur has supplied more than 5 billion doses of OPV to UNICEF.
Between 1997 and 2005, Sanofi Pasteur donated over 120 million doses of OPV to respond to emergency situations in African countries affected by conflicts. In response to an outbreak in Egypt and a request from WHO, the company developed the first monovalent oral polio vaccine, which helped in declaring Egypt polio free in 2006.
The company has developed other specially formulated polio vaccines to target specific regional situations. In addition to producing multiple formulations of OPV, the company is a leading supplier of injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which is available as a stand-alone polio vaccine as well as a component of combination vaccines that protect against many diseases in a single shot.
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: http://www.sanofipasteur.com or http://www.sanofipasteur.us