Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Viruses and their Impact on Global Polio Eradication
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Poliomyelitis vaccination via live Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) suffers from the inherent problem of reversion: the vaccine may, upon replication in the human gut, mutate back to virulence and transmissibility resulting in circulating vaccine derived polio viruses (cVDPVs). We formulate a general mathematical model to assess the impact of cVDPVs on prospects for polio eradication. We find that for OPV coverage levels below a certain threshold, cVDPVs have a small impact in comparison to the expected endemic level of the disease in the absence of reversion. Above this threshold, the model predicts a small but significant endemic level of the disease, even where standard models predict eradication. In light of this, we consider and analyze three alternative eradication strategies involving a transition from continuous OPV vaccination to either continuous Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), pulsed OPV vaccination, or a one-time IPV pulse vaccination. Stochastic modeling shows continuous IPV vaccination is effective at achieving eradication for moderate coverage levels, while pulsed OPV is effective if higher coverage levels are maintained. The one-time pulse IPV method may also be a viable strategy, especially in terms of the number of vaccinations required and time to eradication, provided that a sufficiently large pulse is practically feasible. More investigation is needed regarding the frequency of revertant virus infection resulting directly from vaccination, the ability of IPV to induce gut immunity, and the potential role of spatial transmission dynamics in eradication efforts.
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