Cheaper Cholera Vaccine Receives License
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) on Tuesday announced that its oral cholera vaccine, which was recently approved by India's health agency, will be licensed and mass-produced by an Indian company later this month, the Korea Herald reports (Ji-hyun, Korea Herald, 4/20).
John Clemens, director-general of the Seoul-based IVI, said: "The licensure of the vaccine in India, where national regulatory authority is approved by the World Health Organization, paves the way for a wider use of the vaccine in cholera-endemic populations in Asia and elsewhere." He added, "We are delighted that the vaccine will be produced by Shantha Biotechnics in Hyderabad, a company with a strong record of supplying high-quality vaccines to United Nations agencies, such as UNICEF" (Korea Herald, 4/20).
According to a 2007 World Health Organization report, cholera kills an estimated 120,000 people per year, "but the exact figure was hard to establish due to under-reporting," the Australia Network News writes (Australia Network News, 4/20).
AP/GMANEWS.TV reports, "the only internationally licensed vaccine available so far is too expensive for most people in such nations, costing about $18 for a dose in Bangladesh," according to IVI. The company's new oral cholera vaccine will be available for $1 per dose.
"The use of safe and effective cholera vaccines in cholera-endemic areas could lead to a significant and rapid decline in cholera incidence and, ultimately, to its control worldwide," Clemens said. "It's absolutely imperative that the cost be brought down as low as possible," he added (AP/GMANEWS.TV, 4/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.