Bill Gates pledges $1.2 billion to eradicate polio

Bill Gates says polio is about to be eradicated in the spring, before new outbreaks are spread in Africa and a man has died. paralyze in New York. Currently, the billionaire’s charity is pledging $1.2 billion to complete the mission.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its largest financial commitment to Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Berlin on Sunday. This money will help to overcome the financial shortfall, along with floods in pakistanThe war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic have derailed a 35-year effort to eliminate the crippling disease in the world.

“About six months ago was the closest we’ve ever been to,” Microsoft The Corp co-founder said in an interview on Thursday. For more than a decade, eradicating polio has been primary care of the foundation, which he co-chairs with his ex-wife Melinda French Gates. Seattle-based nonprofit, with bestow approximately $70 billion, has directly donated nearly $5 billion to the cause.

Gates, 66, said: “We are very committed. “I can’t say forever, but giving up will mean hundreds of thousands of children will be paralyzed.”

Since the World Health Organization declared the international spread of wild polio virus to be global health emergency in 2014, cases worldwide fell from 359 to just 29 in 2022. During the same period, cases involving a mutant strain derived from the oral polio vaccine increased from 56 to 398 after the pandemic forced a four-month pause in vaccinations and disease surveillance campaigns in 2020.

Current 5-year strategic needs of the eradication program 4.8 billion dollars to reach 370 million children annually with polio vaccines and other essential health services through 2026. As of last week – ahead of Gates’ latest pledge – it shows signs of supporting only 2 $.2 billion, after Britain and Norway, historically important donors, cut planned contributions. Gates said he hopes the gap will be closed when Germany co-hosts commitment event at the World Health Summit on Tuesday.

“We’re a bit disappointed that some of the other donors aren’t as generous as they used to be,” Gates said. “There are so many distractions right now, it’s more challenging than you think, given the merits of this write-off.”

UK government committed to polio program before lowering aid spending to 0.5% of gross national income from 0.7% in 2021. “Some things they prioritize and some things they don’t,” Gates said. “But this one seems quite urgent. It’s a bit ironic that we now have a number of polio viruses sampled in environmental samples, not just in Londonbut also in New York City. “

Wastewater testing can detect the presence of viruses in an area.

Eradicate diseases

Smallpox remains the only human disease that has been eradicated to date. World health leaders after polio in 1988, hope to get the job done within 12 years, the same time to defeat smallpox. However, ending polio has proved a more elusive goal.

Most of 19 billion dollars financial assistance and heroic effort Vaccinating hundreds of millions of children has cut polio cases by 99.9%. That makes Pakistan and Afghanistan the only two countries whose arch-enemies have never stopped. From that tenacious stronghold, the wild polio virus has spread back to southeastern Africa.

In May, it led to Mozambique’s first outbreak in 30 yearsmake three countries vaccination campaign more targeted 4.5 million won kids.

“Although these viruses exist in every part of the world, the whole world is at risk,” said Carol Pandak, director of the PolioPlus program at Chicago-based Rotary International, whose members launched a vaccination campaign in the Philippines in 1979 that helped inspire the 9 Global Polio Eradication Initiative. the following year. “It is in our interest to see this to the end, to eliminate that risk for all populations.”

Gates is focusing on Pakistan, where eradication has become “super close,” with only one strain of the virus circulating in the Waziristan area, a mountainous region bordering Afghanistan. In recent months, floods have flooded a third of the country, displaced millions and spread the polio virus.

“Sadly, that is now thriving and has spread back into other parts of the country,” Gates said. “And with flooding, it’s reasonably likely to be widespread around Pakistan.” He said vaccination will be resumed in Waziristan next month once the pressing challenges posed by flooding are met.


Polio, known as polio, is a highly contagious disease caused by one of three polio viruses that multiply in the human gastrointestinal tract. People infected with the virus excrete them in their feces, making it easier for the virus to spread in areas that are not cleaned and maintained well. It is difficult to eradicate because less than 1 in 100 people with the disease show signs of illness or are aware of the infection, which allows them to silently pass the virus on to others.

Compared with smallpox, smallpox can be more easily identified by the characteristic red rash it causes, accelerating the identification of outbreaks and the initiation of vaccination programs to respond. The smallpox vaccine used against smallpox protected most people after a single vaccination, while with the oral polio vaccine – used for about 150 countries as recently as 2016 – three or more doses are required to fully protect 85% of children.

That vaccine, developed by Albert Sabin, using a live form, reduce the virulence of the polio virus. If the attenuated virus is passed from person to person for a long time in an unvaccinated community, it can undergo genetic changes that cause it to revert to a crippling form. Such a stress caused polio in one unvaccinated man from New York’s Rockland County in June.

Most of the global cases are caused by a derivative of the oral vaccine for poliovirus type 2. The Gates Foundation helped fund the development of the poliovirus. newer version cannot return to its pathogenic form.

The WHO authorized the emergency use of this new vaccine almost two years ago. Since then, nearly 500 million doses have been administered in 25 countries, Hamid Jafari, Amman-based WHO director for polio eradication in the Eastern Mediterranean region. It provides the best weapon to prevent vaccine-derived cases and end polio transmission by the end of next year, he said.

“We are on a path to stopping all polio by the end of 2023,” Jafari said in an interview. “The lack of funding would be tragic.”

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