Assays of the potency of inactivated poliovirus vaccine require the use of an appropriate reference reagent. Preparation 91/574 was shown by international collaborative study to be suitable for determination of antigenic content and immunogenicity of inactivated poliovirus vaccines by in vitro and in vivo assays, respectively. The reagent is a trivalent blend of formaldehyde-inactivated monovalent pools of poliovirus type 1 (Mahoney) poliovirus type 2 (MEF-1) and poliovirus type 3 (Saukett). Studies by antigen-capture ELISA showed that the component monovalent pools contained high titres of D antigen and trace amounts of C antigen. Sucrose gradient analysis showed that the D antigenicity was almost exclusively associated with 150S virus particles. Low levels of procapsids (75S particles with D antigenicity) were detected in the type 1 and 2 monovalent pools. The profile of intact virions and procapsids in 91/574 in sucrose gradients was very similar to PU78-02, a previously used inactivated trivalent poliovirus vaccine reference. The World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Biological Standardization at its 1994 meeting established preparation 91/574 as the 2nd WHO international Reference Reagent for poliomyelitis vaccine (inactivated). A potency of 430, 95, 285 D antigen units per ml was assigned to poliovirus type 1, 2 and 3, respectively. A separate aliquot of this preparation, established by the European Pharmacopeia Commission as a Biological Reference Preparation, has an identical assigned titre. The 2nd WHO International Reference Reagent 91/574 is intended for calibration of secondary reference reagents.