Neglected tropical diseases

First ever licensed vaccine and anthelmintic against the major cause of epilepsy in the developing world

vaccine  Cysvax® available for sale in India
©WHO

22 May 2017| Geneva −− Two innovative pig health products are now available to tackle a major parasitic disease that causes approximately 30% of epilepsy in humans in the developing world.

A novel vaccine developed by Indian Immunological Limited (IIL) and GALVmed, based on technology from Professor Marshall Lightowlers at the University of Melbourne for the prevention of porcine cysticercosis has been recently licensed in India. This vaccine known as Cysvax® was commercially developed by IIL and since November 2016 is available for sale in India.

There is only one anthelmintic registered for treating pigs for porcine cysticercosis. Morocco-based MCI Sante Animale registered its antiparasitic treatment, Paranthic® (oxfendazole 10%), in Morocco in June 2013. Paranthic® can be used alongside Cysvax® to control the cystic stage of the parasite in pigs, which breaks the life cycle of the tapeworm that is transmitted to humans.

The two manufacturers and GALVmed have worked together to ensure the availability of these two new products in endemic countries. The registration of the products in the country of manufacture is typically a prerequisite to applying for a licence in other countries. T. The vaccine has already been registered in India and the following licensing processes for both the anthelmintic and the vaccine are currently underway in the following regions:

  • Licencing of Paranthic™ is underway in: Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and West Africa (UEMOA region)
  • Cysvax™ registration will start soon in: Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka with other countries to follow later.

Until they are registered in countries, these products can be imported with a dispensation from the local Director of Veterinary Services

A Serious Public Health Issue:

Neurocysticercosis infographic
©WHO

Neurocysticercosis is a neglected disease caused by infection with the parasitic worm Taenia solium transmitted by pigs. It is most commonly found in Latin America, South East Asia and Africa and is most prevalent in rural areas where pigs are allowed to roam freely.

Neurocysticercosis is a neglected disease caused by infection with the parasitic worm Taenia solium transmitted by pigs
©WHO

Partnerships for public good

pigs transmitting neurocysticercosis
©WHO

The University of Melbourne, Indian Immunologicals Limited, MCI Sante Animale and GALVmed (the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines) have collaborated in a public-private partnership for more than six years to make the vaccine and anthelmintic available to those in the developing world where Taenia solium infection has a tremendous effect on human health and the economy. The next step will be to raise awareness of these new products and determine how best to use them in conjunction with other control measures to substantially reduce the incidence of human cysticercosis to those in endemic countries.

GALVmed has provided financial support for the registration of the Cysvax® vaccine and Paranthic® antiparasitic treatment, through its funding from the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GALVmed also provides direct expertise on the vaccine licensing process.

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Ashok Moloo

WHO/HTM/NTD
Telephone: +41 22 791 1637
Mobile phone: +41 79 540 50 86
molooa@who.int