A new vaccine launched to fight typhoid

Bharat Biotech, a leading biotechnology company specializing in vaccines, on Monday launched a new vaccine for typhoid that can be given to infants below two years of age and to adults too.

Typbar-TCV is said to be the world's first clinically proven typhoid conjugate vaccine which can provide long term protection to adults as well as children six months old and above.

Krishna M. Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech, told the media that the fourth generation vaccines offers hope to millions around the world as the currently available vaccines lack long-term protection and are not meant for children below two years of age.

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The Hyderabad-based company has commenced production of the new vaccine. The plant has the capacity to produce 10 million doses annually, expandable to 50 million doses in future.

Typbar-TCV, which will be available in the market in a couple of weeks, will be supplied to global markets such as South East Asia, South America, Africa, Central Asia and South Asia.

The Rs.300 crore company is already the largest producer and supplier of Vi typhoid vaccine, having distributed over 50 million doses globally.

The existing vaccine in India is available for Rs.180 but the new vaccine is going to cost more. Krishna said the price would be announced soon.

The company invested Rs.65 crore to develop the vaccine, which was evaluated in over 1,200 people at nine clinical sites.

Launching the vaccine, Christian Loucq, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), said typhoid every year affects 20 million people and causes 250,000-600,000 deaths, mostly in developing countries.

According to the World Health Organistaion (WHO), 90 percent of typhoid deaths occur in Asia. Most victims are children under five years of age.

Krishna pointed out that 62 percent of the deaths occur in Asia, with India and Pakistan accounting for the highest numbers.

Bharat Biotech gets Rs.40-50 crore of its revenues from the typhoid vaccine launched in 2003. It supplied the vaccine to many countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh where it is part of their national immunization programme.

Read more about Typhoid-- causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and treatment

With the launch of conjugate vaccine, the company hopes to increase the revenue to Rs.100 crore.

Typhoid fever is a life threatening illness caused by the bacterium salmonella typhi, which is transmitted through food or drink contaminated by the faeces or urine of infected people.

'This disease, unfortunately, has been around for too long. In the 21st century, it is not acceptable any more,' said Loucq, the head of Seoul-based institute, which has the mission to develop and deliver safe and affordable vaccines for developing nations.

He said the new vaccine would prove effective against typhoid, which has become drug resistant.

S. Sanjay of the Indian Academy of Pediatricians called for re-including typhoid vaccine in the national immunization programme. He pointed out that it was part of the national immunization chart till 1985.

How is typhoid caused?

The bacteriumSalmonella typhi is present only in human beings and is transmitted through contaminated food or water. People with this infection carry the bacterium in their intestines and bloodstream, and those who have recovered from the disease could still have the bacterium in their system; they are known as 'carriers' of the disease. Both ill people and carriers shed Salmonella typhi in their stool. Infection is usually spread when food or water is handled by a person who is shedding the bacterium or if sewage water leaks into drinking water or food that is then consumed. That is why this disease is common in areas where proper hand washing techniques are not followed.

What can one do to avoid contracting the condition?

Today, there are vaccines that can protect you from contracting typhoid. The Ty21a vaccine is administered intramuscularly (injected into a muscle) and requires the patient to take a booster shot after five years. That being said, even if a person has taken the vaccine, they should not expose themselves to possible infectious agents, because the vaccine is still not very effective. As of last year the IISc (Indian Institute of Science) was working on an improved vaccine that would be foolproof.

Apart from the vaccine, there are some basic things that one can take care of in order to avoid the condition:

  • Do not eat food cooked on the road side. This is because it is very difficult to judge the water source they use and the cleanliness of the food handler.
  • Do not have ice or popsicles prepared locally. Since the water source and cleanliness of the manufacturing facility is unknown, it is best avoided.
  • Do not eat fruits and raw vegetables that have been precut.
  • One must make sure they wash their hands wellbefore cooking a meal or eating.
  • Always drink either bottled water or boiled water. It is essential that the water is brought to a rolling boil. This means that the water reaches a boiling point and is allowed to boil for about two to three minutes.

Also read: Typhoid: Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

With inputs from IANS

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