The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved highly effective typhoid vaccine - the only one safe for infants. The medicine was approved in December but announced by WHO on Wednesday. The vaccine 'Typbar TCV' is manufactured by Bharat Biotech of Hyderabad, India. The approval means the new vaccine can be purchased by donors, including United Nations agencies, for use in poor countries.
In October 2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization, which advices WHO, recommended TCV for routine use in children over 6 months of age in typhoid endemic countries. SAGE also called for the introduction of TCV to be prioritized for countries with the highest burden of typhoid disease or of antibiotic resistance to Salmonella Typhi, the bacterium that causes the disease. Use of the vaccine should also help to curb the frequent use of antibiotics for treatment of presumed typhoid fever, and thereby help to slow the alarming increase in antibiotic resistance in Salmonella Typhi.
Typhoid is a serious and sometimes fatal disease spread through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea or constipation.
Typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria in sewage and contaminated food, infects up to 20 million people a year and kills up to 160,000 of them, mostly young children. The disease once killed many Americans - Typhoid Mary was a famous carrier - but is now found mostly in Africa and Asia. The need for an effective, affordable vaccine has risen urgently as urban slums grow, hotter weather spreads the disease to new regions and the bacteria develop resistance to more antibiotics.