An effective cholera vaccine may soon become a reality, if research by a group of Cuban scientists is successful, a Natal newspaper reports.
Researchers from the National Centre for Scientific Research in Havana, Cuba visited South Africa to prepare for the third-phase trials of the vaccine they have developed.
Studying hardest-hit area
The vaccine targets the same strain of the disease that claimed more than 200 lives in South Africa in 2005, mostly in the Kwa-Zulu Natal area, the Daily News reports.
Because cholera is not endemic to Cuba, the researchers plan to study thousands of volunteers in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where the disease is rife during the rainy season.
The phase three trials will take about a year to complete, before the vaccine will be permitted to be manufactured and registered worldwide.
Previous vaccines unsuccessful
Previous cholera vaccines have been unsuccessful mostly due to their side-effects and their inability to offer long-term protection.
The Cuban vaccine has removed the toxicity from weakened cholera bacteria, making it easily tolerable.
The Cuban scientists will be speaking to researchers, doctors and health workers during their two week stay in South Africa. – (Health24)