Easier-to-Make Cholera Vaccine Approved by WHO Amid Shortage

(Bloomberg) -- An oral vaccine for cholera that is more simple to make than existing versions has been approved by the World Health Organization in a move that is expected to rapidly increase production capacity amid global shortages.

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The inactivated oral inoculation, Euvichol-S, has similar efficacy to the two WHO-approved vaccines, the WHO said in a statement Friday. It’s made by Seoul-based EuBiologics Co., the same company that makes the older versions.

Cholera cases reported to WHO in 2022 doubled to 473,000 and the agency estimates that rose to more than a million last year. About 23 countries have reported cholera outbreaks with the most severe impacts seen in the Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In January, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention tied the worst outbreak of cholera across the continent in three years to climate change, saying adverse weather is raising the risk of this disease faster than in the rest of the world as droughts and floods impair water quality.

While most people can be successfully treated for the waterborne disease, which causes severe dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea, through prompt administration of oral rehydration solution, it’s harder in communities that have little pre-existing immunity due to low vaccination rates and poor general health.

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