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Polio is on the brink of eradication. Here's how to keep it from coming back

The final steps towards eradication are formidable, and it’s not clear when — or whether — nations will reach this goal. Nonetheless, with the demise of the virus in sight, health authorities are planning what happens next.

That’s because eradication is not extinction. Polio could lurk in testing labs and manufacturing facilities — from which it has leaked in the past — and even in some people. Mistakes years after eradication could let polio into an unprotected population where it could “wreak havoc”, says virologist Konstantin Chumakov, former associate director of vaccine research at the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The end of polio is only the beginning of another effort: developing the resilience to keep it away, says Liam Donaldson, a public-health specialist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, and the lead author of a series of independent reports on the campaign’s progress. “People have signed up to polio eradication, but they’ve not signed up to the longer journey.” >>READ MORE>>


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