Vaccine to curb typhoid stuck in pipeline as IISc lacks funds

Researchers await MNC sponsors for conducting human trials of the vaccine, and to get clearance from administration for carrying out the necessary tests

In what could be termed a breakthrough, the researchers in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have developed a single dose vaccine for typhoid that has the potential to bring a phenomenal change in treatment and prevention of the disease.

However, the vaccine won't see the light of day anytime soon, as the institute lacks funds for conducting a trial of the shot on humans and is also facing bureaucratic hurdles in getting clearance for the trial.

Dipshikha Chakravortty with a fellow researcher at her lab in IISc.
She claims the vaccine developed by her could ensure lifelong
protection from typhoid

According to WHO statistics, every year around 2.1 lakh people die due to typhoid infection across the globe, but IISc researchers claim that a single dose can ensure lifelong protection from the disease.

According to experts, currently, the vaccines available in India have to be re-administered every three to four years, and there is always a chance of recurrence.

"The present vaccines vary in their mortality rates from 0 to 50 per cent, therefore, the recurrence of the infection is very common," said, Dipshikha Chakravortty, Associate Professor, Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) of the institute, who developed the vaccine along with her team.

She added, "It has been tested on animals and has shown a success rate of 100 per cent. And in humans, the efficacy will be around 92 to 95 per cent."

Long wait
Even though the researchers are keen on starting human trials so that the vaccine could be available in the markets sooner, the long delay in getting clearances and funding has delayed implementation.

"It is taking too long to get clearance for starting human trials. There are certain companies that have shown keen interest in sponsoring the research. However, the human trials will happen only in a years time," said Chakravortty.

With research showing that typhoid-related infection affected mainly those living in unhygienic conditions, the IISc researchers are keen on making the vaccine available at subsidised rates.

"Our aim is to have this vaccine easily available at subsidised rates across the country," Chakravortty said.
"Once the trials are over, we want to approach the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and request them to include it in the immunisation programme as it will benefit many, particularly BPL people," she added.

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