Photo credit: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

The stars align for country-introduction of TCVs

2017 was a banner year in the fight against typhoid. The World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed the evidence on Typhoid Conjugate Vaccines (TCVs), and its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization recommended the inclusion of TCVs in routine immunization programs in typhoid-endemic countries. Typbar-TCV, a TCV developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd., was prequalified by the World Health Organization. And, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) Board approved a US$ 85 million funding window for 2019-2020 to support the introduction of TCVs in low-income countries.

Now what?

Gavi’s mission is to save children’s lives and protect health by improving access to vaccines in the world’s poorest countries. To achieve this goal, Gavi supports country introduction of new and underused vaccines. For TCVs, this means vaccinating infants and children over six months of age in endemic countries, and where feasible, a single catch-up dose for children up to 15 years of age.

Now, Gavi has released the TCV application guidelines and supplemental documents, which allow countries to formally apply for funding to introduce TCVs. The guidelines detail the process and eligibility criteria that countries must follow to request support from Gavi. The application requires data on disease burden, at-risk populations, and geographical disease distribution; reports on outbreaks or disease clusters; and the rationale for the proposed immunizations strategy. Additional information on safe water, sanitation, and hygiene, antimicrobial resistance, and burden by age can be included in the justification component of the application.

The 2018 deadlines for application submission are 1 May 2018 and 10 September 2018 with reviews in June/July and November, respectfully. Countries that apply in May could begin TCV introduction as early as the first half of 2019.

The policies and funding are in place. The time is right. Countries can move forward to take on typhoid and save lives.

Photo credit: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

Leslie Jamka is Manager, Media Relations at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.