The chairman of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) Dr. NK Arora on Tuesday said that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) CERVAVAC vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer is expected to arrive in India by April at the one-tenth of the cost of internationally branded vaccines in the country.
Dr. Arora was quoted by ANI saying, “There are two or three companies which are in the process (of manufacturing the vaccine in India) but the Serum Institute of India (SII) has already got the regulators' clearance and the vaccine should be available for our patients by April or May 2023.”
"The vaccine should be available soon. I don't know the exact cost yet but am given to understand that the cost of the vaccine will be one-tenth of the internationally-branded vaccine currently available," he added.
Dr Arora further informed that almost 80,000 cases of cervical cancer occur in India every year.
"During the last 24 hours, our country lost 95-100 women due to cervical cancer. India accounts for the bulk of deaths from cervical cancer in the world. Almost 80,000 cases are reportedly worldwide every year. What is important to note here is that cervical cancer is entirely preventable through vaccination. The Human Papilloma Virus or HPV causes cervical cancer and a vaccine is available which can prevent it," he added.
He said the Union government will be able to roll out the HPV vaccine as part of its national health programme for girls aged between 9 and 14 years.
"India has joined a select group of countries where the HPV vaccine is to be manufactured in the next four or five months. Hopefully, we will be able to roll out the HPV vaccine as part of our national programme for girls between 9 and 14 years of age. Vaccination is an important aspect in preventing cervical cancer," Dr Arora said.
He added that screening of women is also important after the age of 35 because cervical cancer, if detected early, could even be managed at a primary health centre.
Overall 250 representatives from South Asian countries are currently attending meetings of 50 countries regarding cervical cancer, HPV prevention landscape and the way forward.
'CERVAVAC' is an outcome of a partnership of DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Serum Institute of India Private Limited for the indigenous development of the quadrivalent vaccine through its partnership programme -- 'Grand Challenges India'.
with inputs from ANI)