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Polio, COVID-19 and the importance of international allies | Jerry Hall | Reno Gazette Journal.

[Published 6:36 PM EDT May 15, 2020]

This opinion column was submitted by Jerry Hall, a former executive director of the Regional Transportation Commission, a 43-year member of the Rotary Club of Reno and past director and vice president of Rotary International, and has participated in polio immunization in Ghana, West Africa.

In 1985 Rotary International initiated a mass polio immunization project in the Philippines. The effort demonstrated that the poliovirus could be stopped with mass immunizations, targeted immunizations when outbreaks inevitably developed and ongoing monitoring and testing of people and environments.

Rotary launched the PolioPlus program in 1987 with the goal of eradicating polio worldwide and in the first year raised $215 million from Rotarians worldwide to support the project. Rotary was soon joined by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and in more recent years the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has become a major funding partner. Governments from around the world have also contributed significantly to the ongoing program realizing that polio is a worldwide problem that knows no boundaries.

When PolioPlus was launched, more than 350,000 cases of paralytic polio in 125 countries had been reported worldwide. Since inception, 2.5 billion children have been immunized thanks to the cooperation of 200 countries and 20 million volunteers.

But the job is not yet done. Only two countries continue to see the scourge of the wild poliovirus. In Afghanistan, 29 cases of wild poliovirus were identified in 2019 and 146 cases in Pakistan. While Nigeria has now been polio free for nearly three years, Afghanistan and Pakistan have suffered increases in wild poliovirus cases over prior years due to ongoing conflict, lack of basic personal hygiene education and partisan political issues.

The WHO has been a partner with Rotary International in the eradication effort and Rotary has relied on WHO to identify strains of the wild poliovirus, cases of vaccine-derived polio and infection locations, and they help to organize local ministries of health in doing targeted immunizations to stop further spread during an outbreak. Over the next four to six months the polio program is offering its tools, workforce and extensive surveillance network to support countries as they respond to COVID-19.

Analysis: Analysis: Trump halts funding to WHO. Experts say we need it now more than ever

Polio or any other virus is easily transmitted, and some say “... it is just a short walk or an airplane ride away.” That is precisely why polio has been so hard to eradicate and why COVID-19 will be equally difficult. We have learned much from the PolioPlus journey that needs to be applied to COVID-19. The fight will be long and arduous, and we need to be prepared to fight it to the finish.

Jerry Hall
Provided by Jerry Hall

We need the World Health Organization and international allies in this fight. We need to share information with candor, and we must rely on our friends around the world to help beat COVID-19. We need to nurture our international relationships and understand that others throughout the world are struggling with the same challenges. The continued good health and well-being of our country depends on our doing the right things in the right way. We cannot abandon the World Health Organization and any such action by our United States leadership would be a huge mistake. The men and women of WHO are people we can count on to help defeat COVID-19 — we know this because of what they have done to help eradicate polio. We need to help them as much as we need them to help us.

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CD4 deficiency causes poliomyelitis and axonal blebbing in murine coronavirus induced neuroinflammation | Journal of Virolgy.

[Pay to View Full Text] [Published online May 13, 2020]


Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a murine β-coronavirus (m-CoV) which causes a wide range of diseases in mouse and rat, including hepatitis, enteritis, respiratory diseases, and encephalomyelitis in the CNS. MHV infection in mice provides an efficient cause-effect experimental model to understand the mechanisms of direct virus induced neural cell damage leading to demyelination and axonal loss which are pathological features of Multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common disabling neurological disease in young adults. Infiltration of T lymphocytes, activation of microglia and their interplay are the primary pathophysiological events leading to the disruption of myelin sheath in MS. However, there are emerging evidences supporting gray matter involvement and degeneration in MS. The investigation of T cell function in the pathogenesis of deep gray matter damage is necessary. Here, we employed RSA59 (isogenic recombinant strain of MHV-A59) induced experimental neuroinflammation model to compare the disease in CD4-/- mice with CD4+/+ mice at days 5, 10, 15, and 30 p.i. Viral titer estimation, nucleocapsid gene amplification and viral anti-nucleocapsid staining confirm enhanced replication of the virions in the absence of functional CD4+ T cells in the brain. Histopathological analyses showed an elevated susceptibility of CD4-/- mice to axonal degeneration in the CNS with augmented progression of acute poliomyelitis, and dorsal root ganglionic inflammation rarely observed in CD4+/+ mice. Depletion of CD4+ T cells shows unique pathological bulbar vacuolation in the brain parenchyma of infected mice with persistent CD11b+ microglia/macrophages in the inflamed regions on day 30 p.i. In summary, the current study suggests that CD4+ T cells are critical for controlling acute stage poliomyelitis (gray matter inflammation) and chronic axonal degeneration, inflammatory demyelination due to loss of protective anti-viral host immunity.

IMPORTANCE. The current trend in CNS disease biology is to understand the neural cell-immune interaction to investigate the underlying mechanism of neuroinflammation, rather than focusing on peripheral immune activation. Most studies in MS are targeted towards understanding the involvement of CNS white matter. However, the importance of gray matter damage has become critical in understanding the long-term progressive neurological disorder. Our study highlights the importance of CD4+T cells in safeguarding the neurons against axonal blebbing and poliomyelitis from murine Betacoronavirus-induced neuroinflammation. Current knowledge of the mechanisms that lead to gray matter damage in MS is limited, because the most widely used animal model EAE does not present this aspect of the disease. Our results thus, add to the existing limited knowledge in the field. We also show that the microglia, though important for the initiation of neuroinflammation, cannot establish a protective host immune response without the help of CD4+ T cells.

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Polio this week as of 13 May 2020 | ReliefWeb.

[Source: GPEI] [Posted: 14 May 2020] [Originally Published: 13 May 2020] [Origin: View original]

  • The GPEI has released an updated guide that synthesizes and references new evidence and recommendations to help ensure continuity of the programme’s operations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – certain countries are facing stock-outs of bi-valent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) for their essential immunization services. To address this, the program has circulated a Statement on the use of bOPV supplied for Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs) in routine immunization activities.

  • The WHA will take place on 18-19 May over video conference. While discussions will focus on COVID-19 and items essential for business continuity, reports on Polio Eradication and Polio Transition have been made available to Member States. The polio report provides an overview of the epidemiological situation and highlights the Executive Board (EB) decision adopted earlier this year on the Strategy for Control of cVDPV2 2020–2021, including the roll-out of nOPV2 under Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

  • Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and environmental samples):

    • Afghanistan: one WPV1 case
    • Pakistan: four WPV1 cases, 13 WPV1 positive environmental samples
    • Somalia: three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
    • Chad: two cVDPV2 cases
    • Cote d’Ivoire: One cVDPV2 case

Download report (PDF | 900.88 KB)

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