World Health Organization okays Bharat Bio typhoid shot

Indian children sitting on steps happy

"Typbar-TCV can be incorporated into routine vaccination schedules, giving us the best chance to reach children most at risk for this devastating disease".

Typhoid vaccine is available in pills or a shot and is only 50%-80% effective, says the CDC.

The Hyderabad-based company claims that Typbar TCV is the world's first clinically proven TCV. Active post marketing surveillance is ongoing and has been completed in more than 7,000 subjects, since vaccine launch in 2013, Bharat Biotech stated in a release. Antibiotics do exist, but they're expensive, and antibiotic-resistant strains have been on the rise.

"At the end of December 2017, World Health Organization prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid, Bharat Biotech's Typbar-TCV®".

One dose provides protection.

Bharat Biotech, which spent about Rs 150 crores from its own pockets for the vaccine, has recieved $40 million in grants from various universities.

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The new typhoid conjugate vaccine is packaged to help curb the frequent use of antibiotics for treatment of presumed typhoid fever, thereby slowing the increase in antibiotic resistance in Salmonella Typhi. 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 Rs1,500.

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi), which infects humans due to contaminated food and beverages from sewage and other infected humans. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea or constipation.

Interestingly, the vaccine received approval after a very unusual trial: about 100 healthy volunteers in Oxford, England, most of whom were medical students, agreed, to trial the vaccine on themselves, swallowing a hefty dose of live typhoid bacteria. "For too long, this disease, which invariably affects the world's poorest people, has been neglected in efforts to improve global health", said Dr. Anita Zaidi, director of the Vaccine Development, Surveillance, and Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases teams at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supported efforts that helped generate data for prequalification. The vaccine, which is now licensed in India and Nepal as a single, intramuscular dose, has been shown to elicit a robust immune response in infants as young as six months of age.

Stating that the economic costs of typhoid were very high, he said the known antibiotics have developed resistance, leaving little protection for people. Those who did fall ill were promptly cured with antibiotics.

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