WHO Prequalifies Typhoid Vaccine

Prequalification is a crucial next step needed to make TCVs available to low-income countries where they are needed most, according to WHO.

The World Health Organization announced Jan. 3 that, at the end of December 2017, it prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid, Bharat Biotech's Typbar-TCV®, calling it an important breakthrough. Typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) are innovative products that have longer-lasting immunity than older vaccines, require fewer doses, and can be given to young children through routine immunization programs. The fact this vaccine has been prequalified by WHO means it meets acceptable standards of quality, safety, and efficacy and makes it eligible for procurement by UN agencies, such as UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

In October 2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization, which advises WHO, recommended TCV for routine use in children over 6 months of age in typhoid-endemic countries, and the panel also called for the introduction of TCV to be prioritized for countries with the highest burden of typhoid disease or of antibiotic resistance to the bacterium that causes the disease. After this recommendation, Gavi Board approved $85 million in funding for TCVs starting in 2019. Prequalification is a crucial next step needed to make TCVs available to low-income countries where they are needed most, according to WHO, and even in non-Gavi-supported countries, prequalification can help to expedite licensing.

Typhoid is a sometimes fatal disease spread through contaminated food and water. It affects an estimated 11-20 million people and causes from 128,000 to 161,000 deaths annually.

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