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Afghanistan and Pakistan — the two countries in which polio is still endemic — are closer than they have ever been to eradicating wild poliovirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said last month. It’s a surprising turn given that the eradication effort had been criticized as floundering as recently as last year. With a small number of cases and limited geographical spread of the virus, scientists agree that the two nations stand a real chance of stopping transmission of wild poliovirus this year, but only if the eradication programmes in these countries can overcome persistent social and political challenges.