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UN approves an updated cholera vaccine that could help fight a surge in cases

News

UN approves an updated cholera vaccine that could help fight a surge in cases
News

News

UN approves an updated cholera vaccine that could help fight a surge in cases

2024-04-19 11:59 Last Updated At:12:00

The World Health Organization has approved a version of a widely used cholera vaccine that could help address a surge in cases that has depleted the global vaccine stockpile and left poorer countries scrambling to contain epidemics.

WHO authorized the vaccine, made by EuBiologics, which also makes the formulation now used, last week. The new version, called Euvichol-S, is a simplified formula that uses fewer ingredients, is cheaper, and can be made more quickly than the old version.

The vaccine was shown to be help preventing the diarrheal disease in late stage research conducted in Nepal.

WHO’s approval means donor agencies like the vaccines alliance Gavi and UNICEF can now buy it for poorer countries. Leila Pakkala, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said in a statement that the agency will be able to boost supplies by more than 25%.

Gavi estimated there could be about 50 million doses for the global stockpile this year, compared with 38 million last year.

Dr. Derrick Sim of Gavi called WHO’s authorization “a lifeline for vulnerable communities around the world.”

More is still needed, however: Since January, 14 countries affected by cholera outbreaks have requested 79 million doses. In January, the U.N. agency said the global vaccine stockpile was “entirely depleted” until the beginning of March. As of this week, WHO said there were 2.3 million doses available.

Cholera is an acute diarrhea disease caused by a bacteria typically spread via contaminated food or water. It is mostly seen in areas that have poor sanitation and lack access to clean water. While most people infected with cholera don't experience symptoms, those with severe cases need quick treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. If left untreated, cholera kills about a quarter to half of people infected.

Since last January, WHO has reported more than 824,000 cholera infections, including 5,900 deaths worldwide, with the highest numbers of cases reported in the Middle East and Africa. The U.N. agency said warming temperatures that allow the cholera bacteria to live longer, have also worsened outbreaks and led to the highest death rates in a decade.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

FILE - A family enters a tent set aside for cholera patients at a clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Nov. 18, 2023. The World Health Organization has approved a new version of a widely used cholera vaccine that could help address a surge in cases that has depleted the global vaccine stockpile. In a decision last week, WHO authorized a new vaccine by EuBiologics, the only maker of the oral cholera vaccine for a global stockpile managed by the U.N. health agency and partners. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

FILE - A family enters a tent set aside for cholera patients at a clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Nov. 18, 2023. The World Health Organization has approved a new version of a widely used cholera vaccine that could help address a surge in cases that has depleted the global vaccine stockpile. In a decision last week, WHO authorized a new vaccine by EuBiologics, the only maker of the oral cholera vaccine for a global stockpile managed by the U.N. health agency and partners. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Rep. Thomas Massie’s role in the failed bid to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson didn’t harm his standing with Republican voters in his Kentucky district, where he easily won his primary election on Tuesday in the conservative stronghold.

Massie far outdistanced challengers Eric Deters and Michael McGinnis to maintain his hold on the seat representing the 4th District, which stretches across northern Kentucky. With no Democratic opponent in the fall, Massie’s primary victory cleared his way to claim another term in November.

The libertarian-leaning congressman said his victory amounted to a “referendum on thousands of independent votes I have cast in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Kentucky’s 4th District.”

“I want to thank the voters for trusting me to represent them again, and I look forward to continuing our fight for personal liberty, economic freedom, fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government,” Massie said in a statement.

Elsewhere, the dean of Kentucky’s congressional delegation, Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, easily defeated three challengers in the 5th District covering eastern and parts of southern Kentucky. No Democrat is running for the seat. Rogers is a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which positions him to steer federal money back to his Appalachian district.

Rep. Morgan McGarvey, the state’s only Democratic congressman, coasted to victory over two opponents in the Louisville-area 3rd District. In November, he'll be challenged by Republican Mike Craven, who won his primary in the Democratic-leaning district.

Republican Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, will be opposed by Democrat Erin Marshall after both were unopposed in the 1st District primary. The Bluegrass State’s other congressmen — Republicans Brett Guthrie and Andy Barr — were unopposed in the primary.

Massie’s congressional race drew attention for his reputation of defying his party’s leaders — from then-President Donald Trump to the House speaker — without being punished by his constituents.

Massie aligned with fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in the recent attempt to remove Johnson from his post as speaker. Massie co-sponsored Greene’s ouster resolution, which was overwhelmingly rejected by their colleagues.

Before the primary, Massie sounded unconcerned about any blowback from voters for trying to remove the speaker — nicknamed “MAGA Mike Johnson” by Trump. The former president remains enormously popular in the district.

“It’s a lot of inside baseball and ultimately, because he’s still the speaker, I think a lot of people don’t care,” Massie said last week.

Four years ago, Massie drew Trump’s wrath when the congressman singlehandedly caused a delay in passing a massive COVID-19 relief package. Trump called the Kentuckian a “third rate Grandstander.”

An unapologetic Massie said he tried to hold up what he considered to be an unconstitutional vote for a wasteful bill. Massie deflected Trump’s jabs by joking he was at least “second rate” as a grandstander.

Despite the presidential smackdown, Massie cruised to reelection that year. Two years later, Massie picked up the former president’s endorsement on his way to another reelection victory.

“They still appreciate somebody who will come up here and vote the way he believes is best, even if it’s at odds with Trump sometimes,” Massie said of his constituents. “So that’s sort of my brand at this point.”

In another twist, Massie supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ failed bid for the White House, again risking Trump’s anger. The ex-president didn’t give an endorsement in Massie’s primary race this year.

Massie's challengers included Deters, a former gubernatorial candidate who played up his steadfast support for Trump and portrayed Massie as a “goofball” lacking accomplishments in Congress.

Since joining Congress in late 2012, Massie has been known as an avid deficit hawk and staunch gun-rights supporter. In a recent post on the social platform X, Massie wrote: “America is on a path that won’t end well. We are borrowing money at an unsustainable rate, accumulating enemies through endless war, and eroding rights like free speech & privacy.”

Kentucky’s most contentious campaign in the fall is likely to be over a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow taxpayer money to flow to private or charter schools. If it is ratified by voters, state lawmakers could then decide whether to support private or charter school education with public funds. The state's popular Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, will align with the Kentucky Education Association, a group representing tens of thousands of public school educators, in opposing the measure.

FILE - Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., listens to the testimony of Attorney General Merrick Garland during House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies budget hearing on Capitol Hill, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Washington. Kentucky voters go to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Republican Rep. Rogers, faced three primary election challengers in the 5th District, which covers eastern and parts of southern Kentucky. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

FILE - Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., listens to the testimony of Attorney General Merrick Garland during House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies budget hearing on Capitol Hill, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Washington. Kentucky voters go to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Republican Rep. Rogers, faced three primary election challengers in the 5th District, which covers eastern and parts of southern Kentucky. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

FILE - Democrat Morgan McGarvey speaks to supporters in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, after the won the race for the state's 3rd Congressional District. Kentucky voters go to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Rep. McGarvey, the state’s only Democratic congressman, has two opponents in the Louisville-area 3rd District. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FILE - Democrat Morgan McGarvey speaks to supporters in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, after the won the race for the state's 3rd Congressional District. Kentucky voters go to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Rep. McGarvey, the state’s only Democratic congressman, has two opponents in the Louisville-area 3rd District. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FILE - Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks during a TV news interview at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Fresh off his role in a failed attempt to topple the House speaker, Republican Rep. Massie downplayed any political fallout back home in Kentucky as he looked to maintain his dominance in his solidly conservative district as Bluegrass State voters headed to the polls Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks during a TV news interview at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Fresh off his role in a failed attempt to topple the House speaker, Republican Rep. Massie downplayed any political fallout back home in Kentucky as he looked to maintain his dominance in his solidly conservative district as Bluegrass State voters headed to the polls Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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