The World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2017 prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid Typbar-TCV, developed by Bharat Biotech.
Typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) have longer-lasting immunity than older vaccines, require fewer doses, and can be given to young children through routine childhood immunization programs.
The Typbar-TCV met the acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy. With this, the vaccine becomes eligible for procurement by UN agencies such as UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The prequalification of the TCV by WHO will help to ensure that vaccines used in immunization programmes are safe, effective and appropriate for countries’ needs.
WHO’s prequalification procedure consists of a transparent, scientifically sound assessment that includes reviewing the evidence, testing the consistency of each lot of manufactured vaccine and visiting the manufacturing site.
What led to the rollout of Typhoid conjugate vaccines?
• In October 2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization recommended TCV for routine use in children over 6 months of age in typhoid endemic countries.
• SAGE also called for the introduction of TCV to be prioritized for countries with the highest burden of typhoid disease or of antibiotic resistance to Salmonella Typhi, the bacterium that causes the disease.
• Shortly after SAGE’s recommendation, Gavi Board approved USD 85 million in funding for TCVs starting in 2019.
• Prequalification was therefore a much needed move to make TCVs available to low-income countries where they are needed most.
• Typhoid is a serious fatal disease that spreads through contaminated food and water.
• It is caused by bacterium Salmonella typhi, which can be transmitted through water or food contaminated by faeces or urine of infected people.
• Its symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or constipation.
• For millions of people living in low- and middle-income countries, typhoid is an ever present reality.
• Global estimates of the typhoid burden range between 11 and 20 million cases and between about 128000 and 161000 typhoid deaths annually.
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