The GAVI Alliance has announced an $85 million funding commitment to support the introduction of typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) in developing countries.
A serious enteric fever caused by ingesting contaminated food or water, typhoid fever killed a hundred and twenty-eight thousand people in 2016 and affected nearly twelve million, according to the latest estimates. While improved living conditions and the use of appropriate antibiotics have reduced the number of deaths from typhoid, growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has led to the spread of drug-resistant typhoid across Asia and Africa.
A new TCV manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and first licensed in India in 2013 is currently under review for prequalification by the World Health Organization, whose Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization recently recommended that TCVs be introduced in endemic countries for all children over six months of age. Vaccines from five additional manufacturers are also under development and are expected to be available between 2018 and 2022.
The $85 million funding window will support the introduction of vaccines in 2019-20. While the GAVI board saw typhoid conjugate vaccines as a strategic priority as early as 2008, in the absence of a vaccine no financial commitment was made at the time.
"This vaccine is safe, effective, and can provide lasting protection," said GAVI Alliance chief executive Seth Berkley. "The growing spread of drug-resistant strains of typhoid is a major threat, not just to individuals but also to our efforts to control the disease, and requires us to prioritize prevention strategies. Strong coverage through routine immunization, together with efforts to improve access to clean water and hygiene, will play a key role in dramatically reducing the disease."
(Photo credit: GAVI/2017/Amanda Mustard)