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WHO Prequalifies New Oral Cholera Vaccine to Combat Rising Cholera Cases

The World Health Organization has prequalified a new oral cholera vaccine, Euvichol-S, offering simplified formulation and hope for increased production to combat rising cholera cases worldwide.

Saurabh Shukla
WHO Prequalifies New Oral Cholera Vaccine to Combat Rising Cholera Cases (Photo Source: unsplash)
WHO Prequalifies New Oral Cholera Vaccine to Combat Rising Cholera Cases (Photo Source: unsplash)

The World Health Organization (WHO) just prequalified a new oral vaccination on April 12, 2024, marking a significant advancement in the fight against cholera. The inactivated oral vaccine Euvichol-S, developed by EuBiologicals Co., Ltd in the Republic of Korea, promises a simplified formulation coupled with similar effectiveness to existing vaccines. This development indicates a potential surge in production capacity, crucial for regions grappling with cholera outbreaks.

Dr. Rogerio Gaspar, Director of the WHO Department for Regulation and Prequalification, highlighted the significance of this milestone, stating that the new vaccine is the third product of the same family of vaccines we have for cholera in WHO prequalification list. He expressed hope that this prequalification would catalyze swift enhancements in production and distribution, addressing the urgent needs of communities affected by cholera.

The WHO's prequalification list already features Euvichol and Euvichol-Plus, also manufactured by EuBiologicals Co., Ltd. The addition of Euvichol-S expands the collection against cholera, offering another viable option for prevention and control.

Cholera outbreaks demand immediate intervention, and vaccines present the most convenient solution. However, dwindling supplies have exacerbated the crisis, particularly in regions where deficiencies persist in water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure.

In 2022, WHO reported 473,000 cholera cases, double the previous year's count. Alarmingly, projections estimated a further increase of 700,000 cases in 2023. Currently, 23 countries are dealing with cholera outbreaks, with the Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe bearing the brunt of its devastating impacts.

Cholera prevention involves more than just immunization; it requires a multimodal strategy that tackles root causes including poor access to water and sanitary facilities. However, the World Health Organization's approval of Euvichol-S represents a noteworthy advancement in the management and eventual elimination of cholera.

As the global health community gatherings to confront this persistent threat, the prequalification of Euvichol-S stands as a progress, highlighting the collective resolve to safeguard public health and mitigate the impact of infectious diseases like cholera.

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