The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $36.9 million to researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development to support an international project that will introduce a conjugate typhoid vaccine in low-income countries, according to a press release.
Twenty-one million people are infected with typhoid fever each year, resulting in 250,000 deaths. Despite the high burden of typhoid fever and WHO’s recommendation to implement vaccination in endemic regions, typhoid fever vaccines are currently underused, according to the release.
New and more effective conjugate vaccines that can protect vulnerable populations, including infants and children, for a longer duration have been developed. Researchers from the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium — a partnership between the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford and PATH, a nonprofit health organization based in Seattle — will work with governments and policymakers to accelerate the introduction of these vaccines in low-income countries where typhoid fever is common.
“It is unconscionable that children are still dying by the thousands every year from diseases like typhoid that are completely preventable,” Anita Zaidi, director of the Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said in the release. “The prevention and control of typhoid should be a global health priority and we are pleased to support the Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium as part of our overall strategy to combat typhoid through an integrated approach including access to clean water, improved sanitation, and immunization.”
Disclosure: Zaidi is an employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.