Merck JV signs on Bangladeshi firms to speed low-cost cholera candidate

When Merck's ($MRK) Indian JV, Hilleman Laboratories, teamed up in June with Swedish biotech Gotovax AB, the plan was to get an affordable cholera vaccine to the developing world. Just a few months out, it's inked a pact to make that happen faster.
Hilleman forged an agreement on Tuesday with Bangladesh-based Incepta Vaccine and the public health research organization ICDDR,B to speed the process of getting the Gotovax candidate through trials to licensing and commercialization.

What's the world's biggest health risk?

Infectious diseases can break out suddenly, almost anywhere in the world, and with devastating impact.
The past week has seen Ebola infecting key medical staff in Sierra Leone, a deadly Middle East virus become airborne and a whole city in China put on lock-down for fear of bubonic plague.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), a UN body that exists to protect and advise the international community about threats such as these, raised concerns in May about the "striking changes in the communicable disease situation".

UNICEF helps tackle cholera in Haiti with sanitation campaign

UNICEF and the Haitian government launched a new campaign this week aimed at improving sanitation facilities in the country to combat the spread of cholera.
The National Sanitation Campaign will target 55 communities in the country, covering approximately 3.8 million people. The “community-led total sanitation” approach encourages leadership at the community level and has been used successfully in the past, according to a UNICEF press release.

Cholera cases continue in Haiti

World health officials recently released a report on incidences of cholera throughout undeveloped parts of the Americas that showed the disease remains the deadliest in Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010.

Merck JV plans to show up J&J, Sanofi with low-cost cholera vaccine Read more: Merck JV plans to show up J&J, Sanofi with low-cost cholera vaccine

While the world already has a pair of cholera vaccines that have been proven safe and effective, it lacks a low-cost option that can stay effective without cold storage in impoverished areas where the disease hits hardest. And with a new partnership, that's exactly what Merck's ($MRK) Indian joint venture is looking to change.

South Sudan capital faces worsening cholera outbreak

Health officials are warning that a cholera outbreak in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, which has left 23 people dead and forced more than 670 others to seek treatment, could be getting worse. Laboratory tests have confirmed that at least one person living in a Juba displacement camp has contracted cholera and there are fears the disease could spread rapidly within the crowded site.

Study: Cholera vaccine worked well during outbreak

The idea of using cholera vaccines as a response tool got a boost today, with researchers reporting promising results during a 2012 outbreak in Guinea for Shanchol, one of two cholera vaccines that have been developed.

In other cholera news, cases in Haiti in the first 3 months of this year were 75% lower than in the same period last year and the fewest since the epidemic began in 2010, according to a statement yesterday from the United Nations (UN).

Overcoming vaccine perceptions 


Infographic: The Next Great Pandemic

Take a look at these informative infographics on TB, Cholera, HIV, pneumonia, and antimicrobal-resistant diseases from the 


UNICEF warns of worsening South Sudan cholera outbreak

UNICEF announced on Monday that the cholera outbreak in South Sudan is worsening.
The reported cases of cholera have doubled on a daily basis since the outbreak began in the capital city of Juba last week. More than 130 cases have been reported, including dozens of children. Three people are confirmed dead from the disease.