New production could prevent shortages in stricken areas.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the approval of a third supplier of an oral cholera medicine that will double the global supply of the medicine, making it available to an additional three million people, says a story on UPI.
Cholera usually results in extreme diarrhea and can be fatal within just a few hours if not treated with medication. The WHO says there are around 142,000 deaths from the disease each year, and somewhere between 1.4 and 4.3 million cases.
Many parts of the world are unaware that a vaccine against cholera even exists, but with the increased stockpile, WHO is hoping they will be able to raise the awareness through promotion of the use of the vaccine.
The organization said it had problems filling requests from doctors for the vaccine in the past, and the increase in production should help with that situation as well. They added requests from Sudan and Haiti in 2015 for vaccinations could not be met due to shortages of the drugs.
The WHO said in a press release that new production from a South Korean manufacturer will amount to an increase of about six million doses in 2016, and hopes to see even more in future years. The added capacity for production is being funded by a pledge from Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance for some $115 million toward the project.
Since the both of the available cholera vaccines, dukoral and shanchol, require two doses to be effective, the new production would vaccinate around three million additional people.
“The creation of the stockpile and pre-qualification of a new vaccine producer highlights the success of an international joint effort through public-private partnership, including governments, non-profit organizations, manufacturers, donors and research organizations,” continued the WHO in the press release.
Two studies in 2015 on the vaccine shanchol, found improvements in the water supplies and hygiene, along with the vaccine could lead to fewer incidents of the disease, if promotions in target areas made people more aware of the steps that could be taken to prevent the disease.