After the successful deployment of the world’s first oral cholera vaccines, the IVI is now working to develop and commercialize a vaccine that prevents typhoid fever in partnership with South Korea’s SK Chemicals, according to IVI Director General Jerome Kim.
“Thanks to our funders, we will hopefully have a new typhoid vaccine ready by 2021 to 2022 in partnership with SK Chemicals,” Kim said during a press conference held on the sidelines of the Global Vaccine Forum held in Seoul Wednesday to commemorate the IVI’s 20th anniversary.
|IVI Secretary-General Jerome Kim (IVI)|
Typhoid fever, also known as enteric fever, is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It is spread through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the feces or urine of infected people.
Compared to its predecessors, this next-generation typhoid vaccine lasts longer in the body, thus requiring less frequent vaccination, and caters better to infants and young children who are most susceptible to typhoid fever, Kim said.
The IVI transferred its typhoid vaccine’s production and quality control technology to Korea’s SK Chemicals and Indonesia’s PT Biopharma in 2013. From then, the two firms have been preparing the drug for commercialization.
As of now, SK is conducting phase 2 clinical trials for the drug in Korea, with a $4.9 million grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this year, according to the vaccine development institute.
Founded in 1997 under a UNDP initiative, the Seoul-headquartered IVI is the only international organization devoted exclusively to developing new and improved vaccines for the world’s poorest populations. It is financially backed by state governments like Korea, Sweden and India as well as private funders including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The body aims to fill the gap created by major pharmaceutical companies which do not embark on developing affordable vaccines lacking commercial value, including those for infectious diseases that are prevalent only in poor countries with weak purchasing power.
The IVI introduced its first commercial product — the oral cholera vaccine — in 2008. So far, more than 26 million doses have been deployed in over 18 countries worldwide. The second typhoid vaccine is slated for commercial introduction in 2021, as Kim noted.
Looking forward, the IVI is conducting research and development on vaccines for disease including tuberculosis, shigella and salmonella as it looks to decide its third target vaccine in collaboration with public and private sponsors.
It is currently pursuing R&D on a new vaccine targeting the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, together with the Korean government, the institute said. The body is also seeking funding for Group A Strep, a throat infection that, if left untreated, can become fatal in the long run.
By Sohn Ji-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)