Approval Means Cholera Vaccine Supply to Double

"The addition of an additional pre-qualified vaccine producer is expected to double global supply to 6 million doses for 2016, with the potential for further increased production in the future," WHO announced Jan. 8. "This additional capacity will contribute to reversing a vicious cycle of low demand, low production, high price, and inequitable distribution to a virtuous cycle of increased demand, increased production, reduced price, and greater equity of access."

A vaccine producer in South Korea is the third to receive approval of its oral cholera vaccine (OCV) under under the World Health Organization's pre-qualification program, which means the supply of this sorely needed medication will now double, easing a global shortage. Both Sudan and Haiti requested supplies from WHO last year to conduct pre-emptive vaccination campaigns, but those could not be filled because of the shortage.

"The addition of an additional pre-qualified vaccine producer is expected to double global supply to 6 million doses for 2016, with the potential for further increased production in the future," WHO announced Jan. 8. "This additional capacity will contribute to reversing a vicious cycle of low demand, low production, high price, and inequitable distribution to a virtuous cycle of increased demand, increased production, reduced price, and greater equity of access."

There are 1.4 million to 4.3 million cholera cases annually worldwide and as many as 142,000 deaths; while the disease is endemic in more than 50 countries, it attracts international attention usually during humanitarian emergencies.

WHO created the world's first OCV stockpile in 2013, trying to buy and use 2 million doses a year in order to stabilize and create demand for the vaccines, which require 2 doses per person. Since then, 21 OCV deployments of about 4 million doses have been made to 11 countries, including Cameroon, Haiti, Iraq, Nepal, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, Guinea, Malawi, Bangladesh, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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