Johns Hopkins receives grant to study oral cholera vaccine

The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health was recently awarded a four-year, $5 million grant to promote the global use of an oral cholera vaccine.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued the grant to the Delivering Oral Vaccine Effectively program in order to provide relief agencies and governments with technical assistance on how to use the vaccine, evaluate use practices and develop field surveillance methods.

"We believe this grant will greatly facilitate the appropriate use of the new cholera vaccine," DOVE Director and professor Dr. David Sack said. "In partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other national and international agencies, we believe the DOVE project will provide the knowledge, technical assistance and encouragement to bring this life-saving vaccine to those who need it most."

DOVE plans to establish its own cholera surveillance program in northern Cameroon near Lake Chad. The area is considered to be a hotspot for cholera infection. The site will be used by researchers to study surveillance methods in remote areas and potentially for using the oral vaccine to contain the illness.

Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholera. Approximately 100,000 people die from cholera and an estimated three to five million are infected globally every year. The cholera bacterium is generally found in contaminated drinking water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.