Polio Laboratory Network

The WHO European Regional Polio Laboratory Network supports global polio eradication activities and it ensures that all 53 Member States have access to an accredited polio laboratory. Encompassing 47 national and subnational laboratories in 37 countries, it is the largest component of the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN). Our network laboratories undergo annual WHO accreditation and external quality assurance. All polio laboratories in the Region are fully compliant with the new WHO poliovirus isolation diagnostic algorithm.

WHO/Europe supports the Network by carrying out key assessment missions and regional meetings, accreditation reviews, follow up and troubleshooting missions to selected laboratories and by providing supplies to polio laboratories in selected countries.

The Network is working on a project to offer to all of its members in the Region an upgrade to poliovirus intratypic differentiation (ITD) capacity. In practical terms, this would mean that all laboratories that implement this technique and successfully pass a proficiency test will be able to differentiate between wild, vaccine and vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs) in their own laboratories. This initiative should decrease trans-border shipment of samples, ensure quicker sample-to-result turnaround and provide a foundation for poliovirus direct detection and characterization in clinical samples in the future.

The Network continues to play a critical role in investigation of suspected cases and detection of polioviruses within the borders of our Region and beyond.