KNUST begins vaccine trials for typhoid fever

9The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in collaboration with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), has begun the trial of a vaccine for typhoid fever in Agogo in the Asante Akyem North District in the Ashanti Region.
The trial of the vaccine, which is already in use in some countries in Asia, will help in the generation of additional data to support decision-making on its local adoption for the management of typhoid and other fevers in the sub-region.



It will also help develop solutions to counter poverty-related diseases which have a huge economic impact on populations in West Africa.

The vaccine, which is being produced locally under licence, will be administered to 23,000 children aged between nine months and 15 years for a period of three years.

Aside from Ghana, World Health Organisation (WHO) certified trials are going on in Congo and Madagascar simultaneously.



After the three-year trial, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), together with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), will ascertain the potency or otherwise of the vaccine and recommend it for use in the country.

The programme is being funded by the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Trials

Speaking at the manufacturing and trial centre at the Presbyterian Hospital in Agogo yesterday, the Principal Investigator for the project, Professor Yaw Adu Sarkodie, assured the public that the vaccine had already gone through several trials in other countries and was genuine for human use.



“This vaccine was prequalified by the WHO in 2018 to offer overall protection from typhoid infections for people living in endemic areas, such as the Asante Akyem North District, and subsequently for further deployment to other parts of Ghana and Africa, after the immunogenicity and safety data are analysed,” he added.

Prof. Adu Sarkodie noted that the management of typhoid fever was a big problem for Ghana, saying now that it had ventured into the manufacture of vaccines locally, it would go a long way to reduce the huge cost incurred in importing vaccines from around the round.

“The most important thing is that this trial is to make sure that the safety profile of the vaccine is kept and the children will also demount the necessary immunity to fight typhoid fever,” he explained.

He said aside from the typhoid fever vaccines, plans were far advanced for the centre to commence work towards the manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine, considering its high demand.


Prof. Adu Sarkodie said that would also give an opportunity for graduate students to conduct research and help in the centre’s quest to manufacture other vaccines locally.

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is one of the bacteria-causing diseases in low-and middle-income countries, including Ghana.

It is responsible for over 160,000 deaths annually, mainly affecting children under 16 years, globally.

The difficult diagnosis and increasing antibiotic resistance strongly underlie the search for an effective vaccine, in addition to conventional ways of managing and controlling diarrhoea diseases, including good hygiene, better sanitation practices and the supply of potable water.

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