…Gavi, UNICEF excited
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
World Health Organization (WHO) has granted a pre-qualification approval to a new Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV), Euvichol-S, for use in the fight against Cholera.
The pre-qualification of the new product is expected to help EuBiologics, the manufacturer, to produce more volumes of vaccine, faster, and at a lower cost, indicating a key step to expanding supply amidst ongoing acute global upsurge of cholera outbreaks.
It’s estimated that approximately 50 million doses will be available to the global stockpile this year, compared to 38 million in 2023.
UNICEF and Gavi, Vaccine Alliance, have commended the development, describing it as a major step in the fight against cholera in the world.
Dr. Derrick Sim, Managing Director of Vaccine Markets & Health Security at Gavi, said “every vaccine dose delivered through Gavi programmes represent years of planning and investment to shape the market so supply matches countries’ needs.
“The approval of this new product could not have come at a more important time given the acute upsurge of cholera outbreaks we are seeing worldwide. We commend EuBiologics for their role in ensuring countries around the world have access to cholera vaccine as part of their response toolkit,” Dr. Sim said.
Leila Pakkala, Director of UNICEF Supply Division, in his submissions said, “despite cholera being preventable and easily treatable, children continue to suffer from this potentially fatal disease.
“UNICEF has already secured access to all the available doses of the just-approved vaccine, and will deliver them to countries at the highest possible speed. The approval means that UNICEF can increase the procurement and delivery of cholera vaccines by more than 25 per cent, pushing back harder on deadly cholera outbreaks,” he said.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that EuBiologics is currently the only supplier of OCV to the global stockpile, although other manufacturers are expected to have products available in the coming years.
Similarly, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance works to shape the OCV market, and funds the global stockpile of OCV doses, along with transport and vaccination activities in lower-income countries.
UNICEF leads on procurement and delivery of doses to countries. Use of the stockpile for emergency response is overseen by the International Coordinating Group for Vaccine Provision (ICG), led by WHO.