There once was a time, even in living memory, when polio was a global threat that paralyzed children at alarming rates. Now, it has been almost entirely eliminated.

Cases and deaths have dropped by 99.9% since 1988, and, for the first time, defeating the debilitating disease is within reach. It’s an astounding feat if you consider that, in 1988, 350,000 polio cases were recorded across 125 countries.

To put things in perspective, as of 2021, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases are down to 195, thanks to the concerted efforts of health workers, governments, and the international community — all instrumental in achieving this historic milestone.

But there's a catch: for polio to be eradicated, all cases must be stamped out. Unfortunately, the virus still remains endemic in two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan — and disruptions in routine immunizations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and conflict all threaten to derail the hard-won progress made to date.

The key to ensuring this grim scenario never materializes is to quickly find solutions to these challenges. With strong political will, global cooperation, and solid public health foundations, the trend could be reversed. Here's what you should know about how we can make this happen.

Read the full article about polio research by Sarah El Gharib at Global Citizen.