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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

New cholera vaccine to get six times cheaper

The vaccine has been developed by Hilleman Laboratories, a medical research initiative of US pharmaceutical giant Merck and research charity Wellcome Trust, in association with the University of Gothenburg.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2019 23:48 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bottles with cholera vaccines. REUTERS/ File Photo
Bottles with cholera vaccines. REUTERS/ File Photo ( )
         

A new cholera vaccine, in phase-3 trials for safety and efficacy, is expected to be six times cheaper than the three available ones, which would make it more cost-effective for inclusion in public health programmes.

The vaccine has been developed by Hilleman Laboratories, a medical research initiative of US pharmaceutical giant Merck and research charity Wellcome Trust, in association with the University of Gothenburg.

The phase 3 trials and commercialisation of the vaccine will be carried out by Bharat Biotech . It will take three to four years for the new vaccine, expected to cost as much as a one-litre bottle of water, to be released in the market.Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can cause severe dehydration and death, if untreated. An estimated 21,000 to 1,40,000 people die of cholera each year globally.

In India, 13 states have reported cholera in three of five previous years . “The vaccine, Hillchol, uses just one component instead of three or five used by the other three vaccines in the market, optimising the processes and reducing the cost of production. And, the phase two trials have shows that they are as effective as the others,” said Dr Davinder Gill, CEO of Hilleman Laboratories.The two-dose vaccine will provide 65-85% protection over three to five years like Sanchol, another oral cholera vaccine developed by a lab in India.

“Completing the phase three trials and getting WHO pre-qualification [which ensures access to essential health products to over 100 countries] will take nearly three to four years... The final product is likely to cost as much as a one-litre water bottle as compared to an approximate $1.8 per dose for other vaccines,” said Krishna Ella, chairman, Bharat Biotech.

“When efficacious, vaccines are always more cost-effective than treating a patient for a disease. A cheaper vaccine will obviously help in vaccinating more people, especially in areas prone to flooding and cyclones like Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala,” said Sanjeev Sachdeva, professor of gastroenterology at GB Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research.

First Published: Jun 26, 2019 23:48 IST

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