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GAVI approves support for new typhoid vaccine

The Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, has approved a support window to enable countries introduce typhoid conjugate vaccine to protect millions of children in the poorest countries against typhoid.

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Hospital records show typhoid accounts for nearly a quarter of all hospitalisation—and poses serious threat in developing countries, where the vast majority of deaths occur.

“Typhoid fever imposes a dramatic burden on children in the poorest nations affecting countries, communities and families,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, GAVI board chair.

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“I lost my cousin and nearly lost my son because of typhoid. This vaccine will be a lifesaver for millions of children, especially those living without access to clean water or sanitation.”

Caused by ingesting contaminated food or water, typhoid killed more than 128,000 people last year, and affected 12 million, according to estimates.

The support window comes after clinical trials showed a new conjugate vaccine, called Typbar-TCVR, was found safe and effective for children aged under two years.

Previous vaccines have been confined to specific countries, or didn’t last long enough, or confer long-lasting immunity in children.

Nigeria doesn’t include typhoid vaccine in routine immunisation, but improved living conditions and treatment using appropriate antibiotics have been standard for dealing with typhoid.

However, antimicrobial resistance is a problem—and drug-resistant typhoid across Asia and Africa poses serious threat to public health.

“This vaccine is safe, effective and can provide lasting protection,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

“Strong coverage through routine immunisation together with efforts to improve access to clean water and hygiene will play a key role in dramatically reducing the disease.”

Typbar-TCVR is currently under review for prequalification by the World Health Organisation, which will put it in line to be used in vaccinations around the world.

Five other vaccines are under development and are expected to be available between 2018 and 2022.

GAVI funding will allow countries to apply for typhoid vaccine support from early 2018.

At least 20 countries are expected to transition out of GAVI’s financial support by 2020.

Up until then, a $30 million fund will provide targeted technical support to address “specific challenges in countries after transition”.

Nigeria receives GAVI support for routine immunisation, which is winding down.

The alliance has approved a set of principles to guide a “tailored transition plan” for Nigeria.

“Sustainability is at the heart of the GAVI model,” said Berkley. “Our transition approach is an unprecedented attempt to systematically support countries with growing economies to take full ownership of their immunisation programmes. The Alliance will work closely with governments to ensure that they remain on track, so that children are not left unprotected against deadly diseases.”

 “All partners have come together to take this important step towards GAVI’s vision and support countries to develop sustainable health systems and economies, thanks to immunisation,” said Okonjo-Iweala.

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