• Monday, June 24, 2024
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WHO approves new vaccine to fight Cholera

30 killed as disease control center warns of worsening cholera outbreak

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved a new oral vaccine, Euvichol-S to fight cholera.

The oral vaccine has a similar efficacy to existing vaccines but a simplified formulation, allowing opportunities to rapidly increase production capacity, according to the global health body.

The pre-qualification of this new product means it can be made available to countries around the world. It will also help EuBiologics, the manufacturer, produce more volumes of vaccine, faster, and at a lower cost – a key step to expanding supply amidst the ongoing acute global upsurge of cholera outbreaks.

Gavi, the vaccine alliance and the United Nations Children Fund, applauded the approval, noting that it will help increase the overall supply of OCV available in 2024, with approximately 50 million doses now forecasted to be available to the global stockpile this year, compared to 38 million in 2023.

Read also: Cholera looms in Plateau as residents resort to untreated water consumption

According to Gavi, Euvichol-S is an important product innovation: a simplified formulation of Euvichol-Plus that reduces the number of vaccine components – delivering a vaccine that studies have shown remains equally effective against key cholera serogroups while lowering production cost and complexity – thus allowing for larger volumes to be produced faster.

Cholera has been surging globally since 2021, with high case fatality rates despite the availability of simple, effective and affordable treatment. The large number of outbreaks has led to unprecedented demand for vaccines from impacted countries.

“Prequalification of Euvichol-S represents a lifeline for vulnerable communities around the world,” Derrick Sim, Managing Director of Vaccine Markets & Health Security at Gavi said.

“Every vaccine dose delivered through Gavi programmes today represents years of planning and investment to shape the market so supply matches countries’ needs. The approval of this new product could not have come at a more important time given the acute upsurge of cholera outbreaks we are seeing worldwide. We commend EuBiologics for their role in ensuring countries around the world have access to cholera vaccine as part of their response toolkit”, Sim added.

Read also: C’River moves to contain cholera outbreak

EuBiologics is currently the only supplier of OCV to the global stockpile, although other manufacturers are expected to have products available in the coming years.

Leila Pakkala, director of the UNICEF supply division, decried that Cholera, despite being preventable and easily treatable; children continue to suffer from this potentially fatal disease.

Pakkala said UNICEF has already secured access to all the available doses of the just-approved vaccine and will deliver these to the countries at the highest possible speed.

“The approval means that UNICEF can increase the procurement and delivery of cholera vaccines by more than 25 percent, pushing back harder on deadly cholera outbreaks”, Pakkala added.