Monday, 27 November 2017

How Recent Innovation in Vaccination will ‘Help Combat Cholera in Present & Future Times’

During the mid of 19th century, in the Ganges Delta, a pandemic broke out in Jessore area of India, due to contaminated rice. This disease was quick to spread to the modern-day Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Fast forward to present times - we all know the disease as cholera ,as it was caused due to a bacterium named, Vibrio Cholerae1.

By the year 1820, cholera had already spread in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, killing 0.1 million people in Java alone2. Thereafter, Cholera has been a regular cause of death among children worldwide. Though cholera is still a global threat, it majorly affects developing nations where proper sanitation and access to safe drinking water remain a distant dream3. India is also among those countries which are struggling to eliminate this disease to lower its mortality rates.

Every year at least 525,000 children under the age of 5 die due to diarrhea, out of a total 1.7 billion diagnosed cases across the globe.Lack of access to treatment is the root cause of these deaths. To deal with this situation, it is important that accessibility for proper vaccination is provided to sufferers of this disease, especially in underdeveloped countries, where the disease affects the most.

This concept of affordable and easy to access vaccine seems to have well understood by a rather new organization - Hilleman Laboratories, a joint venture partnership between Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and Wellcome Trust.

Hilleman started with a mission to provide affordable vaccines to the world for life-threatening diseases. On 12th October 2017, Hilleman Laboratories announced the results of Phase I/II clinical trial of their novel Oral Cholera Vaccine HillcholTM, at the Vaccines for Enteric Diseases Conference 2017, held in Albufeira, Portugal.

The clinical study was conducted in partnership with icddr, b(International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh)

Dr. Ajit Pal Singh, Vice President, Clinical R&D, Hilleman Laboratories, summarized the results of the study, saying that, HillcholTM proved to be safe and tolerable when studied on the 840 subjects, including adults and adolescents. The Hikojima strain in the vaccine expresses both the Ogawa and Inaba serotypes. He said that the results of the study were encouraging enough for them to continue the development of the cholera vaccine.

The current situation where, demand for the vaccine exceeds its supply rate, this project by Hilleman will prove to be a boon in the cholera treatment.

Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories, also reciprocated the same thoughts - "There is an urgent need for effective and affordable cholera vaccine for use in both the cholera outbreaks as well as mass vaccination campaigns, also recommended by WHO”.

The development of this affordable vaccine by Hilleman Laboratories will prove to be beneficial for the developing countries in their fight against cholera, causing millions of deaths every year.

This move by Hilleman Laboratories also aims at contributing in the initiative announced by WHO to reduce cholera by 90%, by the year 2030, as stated by Dr. Davinder Gill. WHO Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC)is offering an effective platform to all multi-sector technical partners, to help the countries in their fight against cholera.

GTFCC brings together government andnon-governmental organization which work together to develop training, materials and technical guidelinesfor cholera control.


1 comment:

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Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

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