India to get its first indigenous cervical cancer vaccine today
India is all set to get its first indigenous cervical cancer vaccine this week. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will be launching the vaccine made in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India (SII) on Thursday. This will be the first locally developed Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV). Here's all you need to know.
Why does this story matter?
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one-fifth of the world's cervical cancer cases are reported in India.
- We witness about 1.22 lakh cases and 67,000 deaths due to cervical cancer every year.
- It is the third most common cancer in India and the second most common in women aged 15-44 years, according to the Ministry of Health.
New vaccine to be low-cost and affordable
The DBT-SII vaccine will prevent women against 6,11,16 and 18 strains by generating antibodies against HPV, Hindustan Times reported. Current vaccine regimens available in India from international pharmaceutical companies cost between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 8,000. According to DBT, the made-in-India vaccine will be low-cost and affordable and will be especially useful for 50 million girls aged 9-14 years in India.
What did the government say?
Dr. NK Arora, chief of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said that it is exciting that India's daughters and granddaughters will get the vaccine. "It is very effective and prevents cervical cancer...if we give it to our young children and daughters, they are protected from the infection and consequently, probably, 30 years later, cancer does not occur," he told ANI.
Made-in-India vaccine to fulfill local demands
More importantly, the locally manufactured vaccine will help deal with the global market shortage. "We will be able to take care of our requirements with our made-in-India vaccine," Dr. Arora added. SII got clearance for the vaccine in July. WHO's 2030 cervical cancer elimination strategy targets say that 90% of girls should be immunized with the HPV vaccine by the age of 15.