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WHO Prequalifies New Cholera Vaccine Amid Global Outbreaks

IN a significant development in the fight against cholera, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has granted prequalification to Euvichol-S, a new oral cholera vaccine (OCV). Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and UNICEF have welcomed this news, emphasising its crucial role in addressing the ongoing surge in cholera outbreaks worldwide.

The prequalification of Euvichol-S, manufactured by EuBiologics, heralds a breakthrough in vaccine production. This simplified formulation of Euvichol-Plus streamlines the manufacturing process, enabling larger volumes of vaccine to be produced faster and at a lower cost. This comes as a timely response to the acute global upsurge of cholera outbreaks, facilitating the expansion of vaccine supply to meet escalating demand.


Dr. Derrick Sim, Managing Director of Vaccine Markets & Health Security at Gavi, underscores the significance of this milestone: ‘Prequalification of Euvichol-S represents a lifeline for vulnerable communities around the world. 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.’

Cholera, a preventable and treatable disease, has witnessed a surge in cases since 2021, with high fatality rates despite the availability of simple and effective treatment. The unprecedented demand for vaccines from affected countries has strained the global stockpile of OCV. However, the new approval is poised to bolster the overall supply of OCV in 2024, with approximately 50 million doses forecasted to be available globally, compared to 38 million in 2023.

Leila Pakkala, Director of UNICEF Supply Division, highlights the urgency of the situation: ‘Despite cholera being preventable and easily treatable, children continue to suffer from this potentially fatal disease. The approval means that UNICEF can increase the procurement and delivery of cholera vaccines by more than 25 percent, pushing back harder on deadly cholera outbreaks.”

Gavi and UNICEF play pivotal roles in shaping the OCV market and ensuring equitable access to vaccines. While EuBiologics currently stands as the sole supplier of OCV to the global stockpile, efforts are underway to diversify the supplier base in the coming years. The International Coordinating Group for Vaccine Provision (ICG), led by WHO, oversees the use of the stockpile for emergency response.

As partners and countries intensify efforts to combat cholera, the prequalification of Euvichol-S marks a significant stride forward in global health security, offering hope to communities grappling with the scourge of cholera.

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