Biohaven Pharmaceuticals has announced that it has developed a vaccine against the deadly respiratory illness tuberculosis that affects more than a million people in Australia each year.
The company has also developed a new lung-protection device to stop the spread of the disease.
Dr Peter Whelan, president and chief executive officer of Biohaven, said the vaccine was the first of its kind in the world and could prevent more than 5 million new cases.
“The company is extremely proud to have been chosen to supply the vaccine for the TB vaccine, and is also extremely proud that our vaccine is the first to be approved in Australia, a country with an extremely high prevalence of tuberculosis,” Dr Whelann said.
He said the company was working closely with the Australian and New Zealand governments and the National Health Service (NHS) to ensure the vaccine would reach the Australian market.
In a statement, the National Institute of Health (NICE) said the new vaccine would help people to prevent the spread and spread of tuberculosis in Australia.
It said the number of cases of TB in Australia had declined since the vaccine’s launch, but that the disease still remained the leading cause of death in the country.
According to the NICE, more than half of Australians have some form of TB, and the prevalence of the illness in Australia has risen from 10.9 per cent in 2012 to 12.5 per cent today.
However, the number and severity of the TB infections in Australia remains high.
More than 50 per cent of those with the disease die from the disease, with more than 70,000 new cases expected in Australia in 2019.
Biosimilar drugs are used to make the drug, called Pfizer’s PfCUR-12.
A similar drug is being developed by Biovail Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer for use in humans.