Plastic Vial Oral Cholera Vaccine Approved by WHO

Euvichol-Plus is a low-cost oral cholera vaccine delivered in plastic packaging

young girl in poverty holding black puppy, smiling

The world's first oral cholera vaccine (OCV) presented in plastic tube vials, is now available for purchase by international procurement agencies, and United Nations agencies.

This vaccine, Euvichol-Plus®, is produced by EuBiologics, a South Korean pharmaceutical company, was prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2017. 

Cholera, a disease caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria, is acquired by ingesting contaminated water or food and causes watery diarrhea that can range from mild to extremely severe.

According to WHO, Vibrio cholerae causes up to 4 million infections and 143,000 deaths worldwide each year. Cholera disproportionately affects children aged younger than 5 years.

The first shipment Euvichol-Plus of 2.45 million doses to Zambia and Somalia occurred on January 5, 2018.

Euvichol-Plus is a low-cost oral cholera vaccine presented in innovative plastic packaging, and is an improved version of Euvichol, an OCV presented in glass vials also produced by EuBiologics and WHO-approved in 2015.

Notably, Euvichol-Plus, priced at about $1.30 per dose, is 25 percent cheaper than Euvichol, which will enable aid and vaccine delivery organizations to procure more vaccines at the same cost.

If Euvichol-Plus had existed just one year ago – and had been shipped in place of Euvichol – more than US $2.3 million would have been saved.

The new plastic packaging reduces the vial’s volume by nearly 30 percent and weight by over 50 percent, allowing easier transport and distribution of the vaccine and waste management.

Compared with conventional glass vials, the plastic packaging is easier to open and administer.

“The new presentation of the oral cholera vaccine, Euvichol-Plus, should greatly simplify the delivery of vaccine to vulnerable populations. The vaccine will be easier to distribute and allow for simpler administration, especially during humanitarian emergencies where it is so critical to minimize logistical constraints,” said Prof. David Sack, chair of the Global Taskforce for Cholera Control (GTFCC).

Two other oral inactivated vaccines are WHO prequalified but are not available in the U.S.A.

  • Dukoral (manufactured by SBL Vaccines)
  • ShanChol (manufactured by Shantha Biotec in India).

Recommended:

In the U.S.A, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Vaxchora in 2016, for adults 18 – 64 years old who are traveling to an area of active cholera transmission.

The standard therapy for protecting people from cholera is a non-living oral cholera vaccine, administered in two doses, during a two-week period. Non-living cholera vaccines that require a two-dose regimen have proven effective in dampening seasonal increases where cholera is endemic.

Vaxchora has been reported to reduce the chance of severe diarrhea in people by 90% at 10 days after vaccination and by 80% at 3 months after vaccination.

The cost for Vaxchora oral suspension is around $243 for a supply of 100 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Vaccine discounts can be found here.

For more information on cholera vaccines visit WHO Cholera Vaccines.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

Euvichol and Euvichol-Plus are the results of a successful global public-private partnership to accelerate the development and delivery of oral cholera vaccines for developing countries led by the South Korea-based International Vaccine Institute (IVI), a nonprofit international organization, and funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the governments of Korea and Sweden.

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the world’s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established in 1997, IVI operates as an independent international organization under a treaty signed by 35 countries and the World Health Organization.

Media contact: Tae Kyung Byun, Senior Manager of Communications, Email: [email protected]