Oral cholera vaccine Shanchol is a low-cost option in India

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Shanchol, an Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) that is devoid of subunit B, was recently licensed in India in 2009 and WHO-prequalified in 2011. Shanchol, India’s first OCV, is produced by Shantha Biotechnics, and as of May 2012, it was priced at less than Rs 109.

Key Point: Cholera bacterial infection is spread through sewage contamination of water, food, or direct oral contact. In endemic regions, vaccination is recommended in addition to other main prevention and control methods. Shanchol, the recently licensed whole-cell oral cholera vaccine devoid of subunit B is an ideal vaccine for use in India – easy to administer, effective, and low-cost.

Cholera, an acute diarrheal illness, is a major global health problem with variable severity and spreads rapidly in endemic regions. Cholera is an infection of the intestines caused by two groups of Vibrio cholerae bacteria, serogroups O1 and O139, both of which are present in India. About 75% of infected individuals do not present symptoms, 15-20% present mild or moderate symptoms, and 5-10% rapidly develop severe, life-threatening symptoms. If left untreated, severe infection leads to death in 30-50% of cases. Shanchol offers more than 50% effective protection against the two groups of cholera bacteria found in India and should be administered in endemic regions in addition to practicing other prevention methods. The Swedish OCV Dukoral with subunit B does not protect against both types of cholera bacteria in India.

“The disease is characterized in its most severe form by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure within hours.”
-Ramesh Verma, Pardeep Khanna, and Suraj Chawla. Department of Community Medicine; Pt. B.D. Sharma PGIMS; Rohtak, India.

Risk and Diagnosis

Cholera infection is spread by direct fecal-oral contamination or ingestion of contaminated water or contaminated food. Everyone is susceptible to cholera; however the risk of death is greater in those with compromised immune systems, such as...

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