News / Africa

Oral Cholera Vaccine is Success in Guinea

Woman drinking the first dose of the first oral vaccine against cholera in Africa during an epidemic, Guinea, Tougnifili/Mankountan, 2012.  Photo by David Di Lorenzo/MSF.
Woman drinking the first dose of the first oral vaccine against cholera in Africa during an epidemic, Guinea, Tougnifili/Mankountan, 2012. Photo by David Di Lorenzo/MSF.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
An oral vaccine for cholera has proven to be highly effective and could change the way future outbreaks are controlled. The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders – also known as MSF -- says the vaccine was used during a 2012 outbreak in Guinea.
 
Listen to De Capua report on oral cholera vaccine
Listen to De Capua report on oral cholera vaccinei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The study of the oral cholera vaccine known as Shanchol was conducted by Epicentre, the research arm of Doctors Without Borders.  
 
Rebecca Grais, director of epidemiology, said, “I think what’s interesting and what this study adds and that hasn’t been shown up until now is the possibility to include oral cholera vaccine into the arsenal of the epidemic response to cholera. This is the first time that the vaccine was used in sub-Saharan Africa in response to an epidemic.”
 
The findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Grais said they dispel a number of myths about cholera control.
 
There was a fear that use of the vaccine would pull resources away from treatment – would be too logistically complicated – and potentially not necessarily have an impact. And what we’ve seen through this study is that it’s effective in terms of protecting individuals in response to an epidemic, but it’s also feasible and did not pull away resources.”
 
The vaccine is administered in two doses spaced 14-days apart. It had an 86-percent protection rate in Guinea. More than 316,000 doses were administered over a six week period.
 
Grais said one advantage of an oral vaccine is that it can be administered by non-medical personnel, as opposed to an injection.
 
“Second of all, what we’re hoping to do in South Sudan – and what we did do in Guinea – is use the vaccine as part of the response to help bring down the case load, reduce the number of cases. And try and bring a halt to the spread of the epidemic in that environment. And so it does add a new component in terms of response to outbreaks,” she said.
 
In South Sudan, there’s concern about cholera spreading further among those in crowded camps for the displaced.
 
Shanchol was not used in the major outbreaks in Haiti in 2011 or Zimbabwe in 2008-2009. There were thousands of deaths in those outbreaks.
 
Grais said, “The course of those two epidemics may have been very different had the vaccine been used.”
 
But why wasn’t it used in Haiti and Zimbabwe?
 
“Like any type of intervention in medicine or in public health, which is until it’s been used, the discussion is extremely difficult to have. Until there’s proof this added intervention is positive with respect to controlling the epidemic it makes the debate very, very difficult because there’s nothing with which to center around or to discuss,” she said.
 
The World Health Organization is now stockpiling Shanchol – one of two oral cholera vaccines it’s pre-qualified for use. The study says Shanchol is better to use in developing countries because it’s cheaper and easier to manufacture, transport and store.
 
Cholera is a water-borne disease causing severe diarrhea. It’s usually found in countries with poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water. The disease is usually treated with oral rehydration therapy.
 
The MSF vaccination project manager in Guinea said, ‘It is possible to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people in a remote area with a highly mobile population and in a relatively short period of time.” 
 
The group is a major buyer of oral cholera vaccines.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid