At the end of December 2017, World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid, Bharat Biotech’s Typbar-TCV®, says a press release.
Typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) are innovative products that have longer-lasting immunity than older vaccines, require fewer doses, and can be given to young children through routine childhood immunisation programmes. The fact that the vaccine has been prequalified by WHO means that it meets acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy. This makes the vaccine eligible for procurement by UN agencies, such as UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
In October 2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunisation, which advises WHO, recommended TCV for routine use in children over 6 months of age in typhoid endemic countries. SAGE also called for the introduction of TCV to be prioritised for countries with the highest burden of typhoid disease or of antibiotic resistance to Salmonella Typhi, the bacterium that causes the disease. Shortly after SAGE’s recommendation, Gavi Board approved US$85 million in funding for TCVs starting in 2019.
WHO prequalification helps to ensure that vaccines used in immunisation programmes are safe, effective, and appropriate for countries’ needs. WHO’s prequalification procedure consists of a transparent, scientifically sound assessment that includes reviewing the evidence, testing the consistency of each lot of manufactured vaccine, and visiting the manufacturing site.