New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has given its nod to Bharat Biotech’s typhoid vaccine Typbar TCV, which has longer-lasting immunity than existing vaccines, requires fewer doses and can be used on recipients over six months of age.
The WHO prequalification paves the way for health and humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF, GAVI, and Pan- American Health Organization to procure it for public health vaccination programmes across the world
“The fact that the vaccine has been prequalified by the WHO means that it meets acceptable standards of quality, safety, and efficacy
“This makes the vaccine-eligible for procurement by UN agencies such as UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,” the WHO said in a statement
In October 2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization, which advises the WHO, 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
“Use of the vaccine should also help to curb the frequent use of antibiotics for treatment of presumed typhoid fever, and thereby help to slow the alarming increase in antibiotic resistance in Salmonella Typhi,” the statement said
Typhoid is a serious and sometimes fatal disease spread through contaminated food and water. 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 1,28,000 and 1,61,000 typhoid deaths annually. Poor communities and vulnerable groups such as children are often the most susceptible.