The International Vaccine Institute, a Korean agency developing vaccines for typhoid and cholera (widely prevalent in poor nations), is collaborating with two Hyderabad-based companies to sell vaccines in India for less than $1 (Rs 44) a dose before 2010.
Typhoid claims 6,00,000 lives among the 21 million who contract the infection every year, globally. In India, hospital and other medical costs related to the water-borne typhoid are more than Rs500 crore. Currently, typhoid vaccines, made by Sanofi-Pasteur and Glaxosmithkline, sell for $40-45 (Rs1,760-1,985) a dose.
Cholera, vaccines for which also cost up to $40 (Rs1,760), poses a health burden globally and is common in Southeast Asia, India, Mozambique and parts of Africa and South America. In India, cholera results in health-care costs of Rs15 crore.
Seoul-headed IVI is collaborating with two biotech drug companies, Shantha Biotechnics and Bharat Biotech International, to introduce typhoid and cholera vaccines.
Bharat Biotech has developed the manufacturing process and capability for a typhoid vaccine, based on a technology from Maryland-headquartered National Institutes of Health, and assisted by IVI.
The company plans to introduce the typhoid vaccine in a single-dose injectable form in Pakistan by early 2008. Krishna M. Ella, MD of Bharat Biotech, said: “We will conduct a massive trial soon in Pakistan. The company is aiming to introduce the vaccine, which will be affordable and cost-effective compared with the existing vaccines in the market.”
IVI has also signed an agreement to transfer an oral cholera vaccine technology from Vibiotech, a Vietnamese producer, to Shantha Biotechnics, Rodeny Carbis, head of vaccine development at IVI, told Mint. The vaccine is undergoing trials on 40,000 people in Kolkata and, when concluded next year, will be ready for regulatory approval.
Once approved, IVI will help in getting the vaccine qualified for global use by WHO so that it can be distributed through Unicef, said Carbis.