Quinvaxem® fully liquid pentavalent (five-in-one) vaccine protects infants against five deadly childhood infections: diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), pertussis (P, whooping cough), hepatitis B (HepB), and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
Combination vaccines help to simplify and harmonize vaccination schedules, leading to increased vaccine coverage and greater costeffectiveness. As the first fully liquid pentavalent DTwP–HepB–Hib vaccine brought to the market, Quinvaxem® further simplified vaccine delivery because it is ready to use as soon as the vial is opened. This makes it an ideal choice for protecting babies in developing countries with infrastructure and hygiene problems. Quinvaxem® remains the only fully liquid pentavalent vaccine that offers these advantages in a preservative-free formulation.
Since the launch of Quinvaxem® in 2006, over 200 million doses of this life-saving vaccine have been delivered to developing countries, including 50 GAVI-supported countries. Most were low-income countries supplied through Unicef and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). With this innovation, Crucell has become a major partner in protecting children in under-resourced countries.
Diphtheria is a very contagious and potentially life-threatening infection that usually attacks the throat and nose, sometimes being mistaken for a severe sore throat. In more serious cases, it can attack the nerves and heart. It is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheria and is spread by direct physical contact or breathing the secretions of those infected.
Vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of diphtheria in many parts of the world – in the US, for example, where the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine is given to all school children, there have been fewer than 5 cases a year reported since 1980.
However, diphtheria remains a serious disease, with mortality rates of between 3.5% and 12%. In 2000, the WHO estimates that 3,000 deaths occurred as a result of diphtheria, with more than 30,000 cases worldwide. Numerous recent examples have demonstrated that a drop in vigilance can quickly have damaging results, even in developed countries. In the constituent states of the former Soviet Union, for instance, a drop in vaccination rates in the early 1990s resulted in a sharp rise in diphtheria, peaking at 200,000 cases in 1998 with 5,000 deaths.
Tetanus mainly occurs in developing countries and is an acute bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani, acquired through environmental exposure. Infection usually originates from a contaminated wound, often a cut or deep puncture wound. It is not communicable from person to person - tetanus is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is infectious but not contagious.
Common symptoms are muscle spasms in the jaw (hence the common name lockjaw), followed by difficulty swallowing and general muscle stiffness in other parts of the body. The WHO estimates the incidence of tetanus at 1 million cases per year, with an estimated 290,000 deaths between 2002 and 2003. Vaccination programs are successful in controlling tetanus in the majority of the developed world.
Pertussis is a respiratory infection commonly known as whooping cough, caused by Bordetella pertussis. Transmission most commonly occurs via the respiratory route, through contact with respiratory droplets or by contact with airborne droplets of respiratory secretions. Pertussis is highly communicable, as evidenced by secondary attack rates of 80% among susceptible households.
The worldwide incidence is estimated to be 50 million cases each year with 300,000 deaths. Infants under one year are most at risk, although this is a disease of particular concern throughout infancy and childhood, with infant mortality rates up to 4% in developing countries. Adults and adolescents can suffer from atypical pertussis and are a source of infection for infants. Vaccination programs in the developed world successfully control pertussis infection.
Crucell’s hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine Hepavax-Gene® contributes the HBV component of Quinvaxem®. Please refer to the page of this website devoted to Hepavax-Gene® for detailed information concerning HBV.
Haemophilus influenzae type b
Haemophilus influenzae is a common pathogen that colonizes the respiratory tract. It is spread through contact with discharges or droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person. H. influenzae type b (Hib) is responsible for serious infections, most notably meningitis (inflammation and swelling in the coverings of the brain and spinal cord) and pneumonia.
In developed countries, the majority of Hib-invasive disease causes meningitis, whereas in developing countries acute respiratory infection predominates, with 2 to 3 million cases of pneumonia occurring each year. Invasive Hib infections rarely occur in children older than 6 years. In 2000, the WHO estimates that Hib caused 450,000 deaths in young children, with the disease burden being highest for those aged 4 to 18 months.
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