Indian pharmaceutical Bharat Biotech’s typhoid vaccine, Typbar-TCV has been marked as a success by a study conducted in Oxford University.
Foremost amongst the findings is that the Typbar-TCV vaccine is safe to use in children aged under two. This is of huge significance as current widely used vi-ps typhoid vaccine cannot be used in children aged under two. This opens up the possibility of immunising younger children, a move that could hugely reduce mortality rates as well as long term effects of the disease which are often present in survivors of the condition.
The study announced in The Lancet that the vaccine showed up to an 87 percent protection rate against typhoid fever. The study is the first of its kind on this type of typhoid vaccine. Over the course of the study several crucial traits of the vaccine were uncovered that could establish it as a front line treatment in combatting the disease.
Typbar-TCV is already licensed for use in those under two years old in India. Currently outside of India there are no typhoid vaccines available for those in this age group. The results of the study indicate that the vaccine is not only safe, but highly effective. As such, with the study backing its efficacy, Bharat’s vaccine may be licensed for use outside of India.
The results indicate the Typbar-TCV vaccine also has a long term advantage over currently used vaccines. While vi-ps typhoid vaccines do not grant long term immunity, Bharat’s vaccine was shown to demonstrate a far longer term immunisation coverage. This would reduce the need for repeat vaccinations. For rural areas of poor nations, in which access to healthcare facilities is geographically difficult, longer term vaccine protection would be invaluable.
The study was performed with the assistance of volunteers at Oxford University, the majority of whom were students. The volunteers were immunised, either with the vaccine or a negative control solution. Following the immunisation they were later tasked with drink a cup full of fluid contaminated with the typhoid virus.
The data provided from the voluntary infections indicated that the vaccine prevents 55 per cent of typhoid infections in the challenge trial and up to 87 per cent of infections, when using real life definitions of typhoid fever. While only 55 percent of infections were outright prevented, the vaccine does have a far higher rate of symptom prevention, with 87 percent being a highly positive result.
Prevalence of typhoid fever in India remains high compared to many other countries. The disease is typically endemic to low to middle income countries and is spread as a result of contaminated food or water. In India, the mortality rate is 6.1 per 100,000, with children being disproportionately affected.
Prevalence of typhoid in India is declining, however, it does still represent a significant challenge. The disease’s severity is made worse by its disproportionate prevalence amongst young children, as such, must be addressed at a young age. Vaccines such as Typbar-TCV, due to its capacity for immunisation of young children will play a vital role in this claims a study published in PLOS neglected tropical disease.