Bharat Biotech Ltd (BBL), a Hyderabad-based vaccine maker, on Wednesday, said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has pre-qualified its typhoid conjugate vaccine. The new vaccine was found to have given a longer immunity from typhoid than older vaccines and it required fewer doses for childhood immunisation. The pre-qualification by WHO allows for the sale of the vaccines to UN agencies such as UNICEF and GAVI. Typbar TCV is reportedly the world’s first typhoid vaccine clinically proven for use on recipients who can be as young as six months. A single dose offers 87 per cent protective efficacy against typhoid, which sickened 12 million people and killed 130,000 worldwide in 2016.
As per reports, Bharat Biotech spent about Rs 150 crores from its own pockets for the vaccine and received $40 million in grants from various universities.
It has been found in the clinical trials that the use of the vaccine could help in curbing the frequent use of antibiotics for treatment of presumed typhoid fever. Though the vaccine is approved for use in India, it is not yet a part of India’s Universal Immunisation Programme. Its retail price in India is Rs 1,500.
Typhoid fever is caused by food and water contaminated by Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) bacteria. The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation and sometimes diarrhoea. According to the World Health Organisation, typhoid affects about 21 million people per year and kills around 222,000.