icddr,b scientist joins the WHO Polio Research Committee

Dhaka, 12 February, 2017 - icddr,b’s senior scientist Dr K Zaman has recently been selected as a member of the World Health Organisation Polio Research Committee (PRC), a rare feat for Bangladeshi scientists.

The announcement was made yesterday while he was on a visit to WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr Michel Zaffran, Director of the PRC, handed over the official letter and invited him to the committee’s 19th meeting in April 2017.

Established in 2008, the Polio Research Committee (PRC) provides guidance on the overall strategic direction of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s global programme of research, which encompasses dozens of projects from a wide range of core scientific disciplines. The PRC is comprised of global experts from a variety of disciplines, including virology, epidemiology, sociology and public health.

Earlier in October 2016, Dr Zaman became a member of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) in the polio immunization working group. SAGE works on policy guidelines on the use of polio vaccines in low and middle-income settings, proposes key recommendations to WHO for updating position papers and provides technical guidance to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for polio eradication 'endgame strategy'.

For several years, Dr Zaman and his colleagues have been carrying out studies on a range of oral polio vaccines (OPVs) in Bangladesh. Dr Zaman says, “As two deadly infectious diseases, smallpox and rinderpest, have been eradicated from the face of the earth, why polio should not be the third? Until today icddr,b has conducted more than 10 polio vaccine studies on most polio vaccine variants, results of these studies are anticipated to guide the worldwide polio eradication agenda in choosing the optimal vaccination intervention in an appropriate setting”. 

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