WHO Approves Simplified Cholera Vaccine Amid Shortage

Cholera Vaccine

The World Health Organization has recently approved a new oral cholera vaccine, Euvichol-S, which is anticipated to streamline production and address global shortages. Manufactured by EuBiologics Co. in Seoul, this inactivated oral inoculation offers comparable efficacy to existing WHO-approved vaccines.

In 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded a doubling of reported cholera cases to 473,000. The agency estimates that this figure rose to over a million cases last year. Cholera outbreaks have been reported in approximately 23 countries, with the most severe impacts observed in the Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

In January, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention attributed the continent’s worst cholera outbreak in three years to climate change. Adverse weather conditions, such as droughts and floods, are escalating the risk of this disease at a faster rate than in other parts of the world, compromising water quality. While prompt treatment with oral rehydration solution can successfully manage cholera, communities with low vaccination rates and poor overall health face greater challenges due to limited pre-existing immunity.

Cholera continues to be a major public health issue across several African nations, presenting significant obstacles to healthcare infrastructure and local communities. This disease, triggered by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, mainly spreads through contaminated water and food sources. Challenges like insufficient sanitation facilities, substandard hygiene habits, overcrowded living conditions, and restricted availability of clean water collectively contribute to the ongoing occurrence of cholera outbreaks in numerous African regions.

Cholera epidemics pose a significant threat to African nations with fragile healthcare systems and scarce resources. Urban slums and rural regions lacking adequate sanitation are frequent hubs for cholera transmission. Additionally, natural calamities like floods and droughts worsen the disease’s spread by polluting water supplies and disrupting sanitation infrastructure.

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