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U.S. Poliovirus Containment Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated the U.S. National Authority for Containment (NAC) in January 2018. It is located at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NAC was designated to implement the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan to Minimize Poliovirus Facility–Associated Risk after Type-Specific Eradication of Wild Polioviruses and Sequential Cessation of Oral Poliovirus Vaccine Use (GAPIII) in the U.S.

In July 2022, WHO replaced GAPIII with the WHO Global Action Plan for Poliovirus Containment (GAP IV). WHO expects to complete the transition to GAPIV by July 2025.

Purpose: Identify Infectious Poliovirus and PIM

In addition to identifying laboratories that work with poliovirus, the NAC also seeks to identify facilities with poliovirus potentially infectious materials (PIM). PIM should be identified based on where and when the specimens were collected, not based on any test results. PIM includes human fecal samples and upper respiratory secretions collected for polio or non-polio related work in a time and place where one of the following apply:

  1. Wild poliovirus (WPV) was circulating
  2. Vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) was circulating
  3. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) was in use

Historical domestic and international specimens are more likely to fall into the categories above. Also, PIM cultured in some common cell lines to isolate other viruses of interest may unintentionally amplify poliovirus. Respiratory or enteric viral isolates obtained from PIM specimens using poliovirus-permissive cell lines are also considered PIM. 

Extracted nucleic acid and specimens that may contain only OPV (i.e., OPV PIM) are not subject to GAP containment at this time; however, these materials are still considered part of the U.S. poliovirus inventory and should be reported in the U.S. Poliovirus Containment Survey.

Please review the WHO Country and Territory-Specific Poliovirus Case Data and the Country Information on Last Use of Trivalent Oral Poliovirus to determine if a biological specimen or environmental sample in your inventory may contain poliovirus. If you need assistance with the using the tables, contact the NAC.

Poliovirus-essential facilities

All facilities that continue to handle and store wild and vaccine-derived poliovirus types 2 and 3 and oral polio vaccine type 2 infectious materials must be certified as a poliovirus-essential facility (PEF) to retain these materials. PEFs serve critical national and international functions. Those functions include vaccine production, vaccine testing, public health and virologic research, and diagnostics.

The NAC strongly encourages any U.S. facility to destroy unneeded or nonessential materials containing poliovirus. All facilities retaining poliovirus will require certification as a PEF when WHO declares poliovirus eradicated.

GAPIV specifies all poliovirus containment requirements including

  • facility risk management,
  • biosecurity,
  • engineering controls,
  • community population immunity, and
  • local sanitation standards.

GAPIV focuses on risk elimination as a primary goal, wherever possible. GAPIV has shifted to a risk- and evidence-based approach for risk control. This approach does not change the tolerance for minimal risk.

Please vist the U.S. Polivirus Containment Program to find out more information.

If your laboratory works with, possess  or has questions related to Wild poliovirus (WPV) or polio potenially infectious materials (PIM) you must contact: 

Christopher Kuhlow, Biological Safety Officer

Tel: (631) 632-3717; Fax: (631) 632-9683