Back in November, the GAVI Alliance added inactivated poliovirus vaccines (IPV) to the list of products it makes available in the world's poorest countries. And with the conclusion of its tender process, UNICEF is adding its backing: The children's fund has struck a deal with Sanofi ($SNY) to supply the vaccine to GAVI-supported countries for as little as $1 per dose.
According to a release from GAVI and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), now that the tender is completed, more than 120 countries can go forth with plans to introduce at least one dose of IPV into their routine immunization schedules. The tiered pricing allows 73 countries to buy Sanofi's 10-dose presentations for $1 a shot, while middle-income countries will pay $2.04-$2.38, beginning in July; the UNICEF awards also include a sticker of $1.90 per dose in 5-dose vials and $2.80 in single-dose vials.The lower-dose vials are sold by Serum Institute of India and its Dutch subsidiary.
"Today's publication of prices following conclusion of the UNICEF tender ensures that affordable IPV will be made available, removing a major obstacle to global introduction," GAVI and GPEI said in a statement.
The pair called the global introduction of IPV a "major element of the comprehensive plan to end all polio disease and secure a polio-free future"; its introduction will help speed up efforts to root out the disease by boosting global immunity.
As the organizations note, the past several years have seen immense progress toward ending polio, with the virus only still remaining in some of the world's most difficult areas. But not everyone has shown interest in quashing the disease once and for all; the Taliban has notoriously opposed polio eradication efforts, which it has claimed are only a cover for international spying.
Pakistan has seen a particularly violent series of acts against health workers, who militants have also accused of joining in on a Western plot to sterilize Muslims, BBC News reports. Most recently, a bomb attack on a polio vaccination team in the country's northwest killed at least 11 people; so far, no group has claimed responsibility.