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Trials of the killed oral cholera vaccine (Shanchol) in India and Bangladesh: Lessons learned and way forward

Islam, Md Taufiqul, Chowdhury, Fahima, Qadri, Firdausi, Sur, Dipika, Ganguly, N.K.
Vaccine 2019
Vibrio cholerae O1, children, cholera, cold, control methods, disasters, hygiene, immune response, immunization, pandemic, politics, sanitation, thermal stability, urban population, vaccines, water supply, Bangladesh, India
Cholera has been endemic in India and Bangladesh for the greater part of recorded history, giving this region the reputation of being the ‘homeland of cholera’. The causative organism Vibrio cholerae O1 has been responsible for large epidemics and pandemics. Bangladesh and India have conducted several sequential studies of Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) to ascertain its safety, efficacy, effectiveness, field feasibility and acceptance in high-risk urban populations. The objective of this article is to illustrate the experience of OCV use in these endemic settings, its major challenges, and how policymakers can grant vaccine licenses as well as implement its use in the national immunization programme. The relevant aspects of the OCV studies, such as boosting the effect of vaccine, single-dose versus double-dose trials and thermal stability of the vaccine during delivery have generated strong evidence for recommendation of vaccine use in these settings. Studies have shown that a single dose is effective for children of five years of age and older age groups. The locally manufactured vaccine in India is thermostable and can be delivered in field settings without use of cold chain. The vaccine delivery is feasible and the protective efficacy (PE) of this vaccine above five years of age against cholera was 53–65%. Administration of an OCV boosting regimen elicits an immune response similar to those who received a two-dose vaccine five years back. OCV can be used as a preemptive measure in endemic settings, in natural calamities and during political instability when there is total disruption as well as collapse of safe water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and other control measures. Clear identification of areas and target population (who will gain benefit from the OCVs) is required to be developed in endemic settings.