Japan Chooses Sanofi Pasteur for First Enhanced Inactivated Polio Vaccine
- Approval of IMOVAX® POLIO by Japanese health authorities, a major milestone towards a polio-free world -
Lyon, France and Tokyo, Japan – April 27, 2012 – Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY), announced today that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has approved the company’s standalone Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) against acute flaccid poliomyelitis (IMOVAX® POLIO). IMOVAX® POLIO will be added to the country’s public immunization program on September 1st.
Since 1988, start of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99% worldwide. (1) The approval of IMOVAX® POLIO by Japanese health authorities is a major milestone towards a polio-free world. IMOVAX® POLIO is an inactivated poliovirus vaccine made from poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3. Since its launch in France in 1982, IMOVAX®POLIO has been approved in 86 countries. Sanofi Pasteur has supplied more than 800 million doses of standalone IPV and IPV-containing combination vaccines worldwide to date.
“Inactivated poliovirus vaccine is the standard of care for polio vaccination in polio-free countries. Sanofi Pasteur is committed to doing its utmost to contribute to protecting as many infants as possible in Japan from polio.” said Olivier Charmeil, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur.
Poliomyelitis, known as “infantile paralysis” in Japan, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine, causing severe paralysis in some cases. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually the legs). Among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
As many of those infected are under the age of 5, national routine immunization is applied in many countries in the world. (1)
In Japan, immunization with Oral Poliovirus Vaccine (OPV) has been conducted throughout the country since 1961. As a result, Japan was certified polio-free by the WHO in 2000. Yet, as poliomyelitis has not been completely eradicated from the surface of the earth, vaccination against polio remains an important part of the Japanese public immunization program due to the risk of virus importation.
Over 60 polio-free countries use IPV
Japan and the Western Pacific Region were declared polio-free in 2000 by the WHO. IPV is the standard of care for polio vaccination in over 60 polio-free countries including the US and Europe, where the vaccine is included in the national polio immunization program.
Sanofi Pasteur: a major public health partner in Japan
Sanofi Pasteur was the first international vaccine company to enter Japan with the launch, in 2008, of ActHIB®, a pediatric vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease. The vaccine has been integrated in Japan’s public immunization program since 2011.
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.us
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1. WHO Fact sheet N°114 Poliomyelitis http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/