As far as developing countries are concerned, Cholera still remains a major public health concern. On a global scale, the true number of cholera cases is known to be much higher than actually recorded. The discrepancy is an outcome of under reporting and lack of effective surveillance systems including inconsistency in case deficiency and lack of standard vocabulary. The major point here is that the reporting system for cholera lacks standardization as only breaks are reported.
As a WHO Collaborating Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research and Training, the National Institute of cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata, West Bengal, India, receives about 1000 to 1500 strains of Vibrio cholera every year from about 30 to 40 institutions from India and a few from outside the country for bio typing, serotyping and phage typing.
However, two global pharmaceutical firms have joined together to put a curb on the high cost of cholera vaccine and employing vaccine development transformational technology to develop a low-cost cholera vaccine. Hilleman Laboratories and Gotovax AB have joined hands to develop affordable oral cholera vaccine. Hilleman Laboratories is a Merck & Co and UK-based Welcome Trust joint venture while Gotovax AB is a bio-pharmaceutical firm. As there is an urgent need for highly effective and affordable Cholera vaccines both for outbreaks as well as mass vaccination campaigns, we have been working together to meet this urgent need in every possible way. Cholera is endemic in more than 50 countries with estimated mortality of 100,000-120,000 deaths each year and a morbidity of 3.8-4.4 million annual cases attributed to this disease.
What is cholera?
Cholera is defined as an acute infectious disease caused by Vibrio cholera bacteria. The disease is transmitted through contaminated water and food. When a patient’s stool containing the bacteria is not properly disposed, it leads to contamination of common water bodies. Due to open defecation, various sources of water get contaminated.
This Cholera Gotovax vaccine will be much cheaper from the existing ones available in the market. In addition, it will be easy to use due to oral administration and provide cross protection against ETEC diarrhea and optimized with a longer shelf life. The idea behind the development of this vaccine is to provide a superb protection against cholera to geographies with the highest cholera burden such as Africa and South Asia.
This will be a great help to nations that are facing an urgent need for an affordable yet effective cholera vaccine that can be given orally.