The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Sunday said it will commit $1.2B to support efforts to end all forms of polio globally.
Polio is a disabling and potentially deadly disease caused by the poliovirus. There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with safe and effective vaccination, according to the U.S. CDC.
The new commitment will support implementation of Global Polio Eradication Initiative's (GPEI) Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026, which aims to end wild poliovirus in the last two endemic countries — Pakistan and Afghanistan — and stop outbreaks of new variants of the virus.
The foundation has contributed nearly $5B to GPEI, the organization noted.
GPEI aims to scale up the use of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) to help stop outbreaks of variant poliovirus more sustainably, the Gates Foundation added.
"The last steps to eradication are by far the toughest. But our foundation remains dedicated to a polio-free future, and we’re optimistic that we will see it soon," said Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation.
However, the Gates Foundation noted that another concern was that countries that had previously eliminated all forms of poliovirus, recently detected the virus.
As per the CDC, inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the U.S. since 2000. It is given by a shot in the arm or leg. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) is used in other countries.
The Gates Foundation added that U.K. also confirmed an outbreak of variant poliovirus and along with the U.S. were added to the World Health Organization's outbreak list in September.