The funds, agreed by GAVI at a meeting on Thursday, will go towards
bulk-buying of new typhoid vaccines including one developed by
privately-held Bharat Biotech, the alliance said in a statement.
Typhoid shots from five other drugmakers are also under development
and expected to be available between 2018 and 2022. GAVI said it
expects the first countries to apply for the vaccine next year, with
the aim of starting to roll it out in 2019 for children over the age
of 6 months.
GAVI, which is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the
World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, donor governments
and others, funds bulk-buy vaccination program for poorer nations
that can't afford shots at developed-economy prices.
Typhoid is a serious fever caused by consuming contaminated food or
water. It affects between 12 and 20 million people worldwide in
regions where water quality and sanitation are low, particularly in
south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Around 1 in 100 cases is deadly, and about 3 percent of those
infected become chronic carriers of the disease. Global health
experts say it killed more than 128,000 people in 2016.
"This vaccine will be a lifesaver for millions of children,
especially those living without access to clean water or
sanitation," said the chair of GAVI's board, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
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While typhoid is a bacterial disease that can be treated with
antibiotics, access to antibiotics in poorer regions is sometimes
limited, and the typhoid bug's resistance to them is on the rise.
GAVI's chief executive Seth Berkley said the growing spread of drug
resistant strains of typhoid posed a major threat, to which a
vaccine could offer an important defense.
"Strong (vaccine) coverage through routine immunization together
with efforts to improve access to clean water and hygiene will play
a key role in dramatically reducing the disease," he said.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Peter Graff
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