India Launched Its First Cervical Cancer Vaccine

Today, Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)  launched India's first locally made quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) against cervical cancer.

The Drugs Controller General of India gave the vaccination the go-ahead in July, Dr. Jitendra Singh, the federal minister of state (independent charge) for science and technology, released the vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that India bears a fifth of the globe's cervical cancer burden, with 1.23 lakh new cases and 67,000 fatalities per year. By producing antibodies against HPV, this vaccination prevents the 6, 11, 16, and 18 strains, according to the government analysis.

India Launches Cervical Cancer Vaccine

The CERVAVAC qHPV vaccination has shown a strong antibody response against all targeted HPV types in both dose and age groups that is approximately 1,000 times higher than the baseline, according to the officials.

After Prakash Kumar Singh, director of government and regulatory affairs at Serum Institute, applied to the DCGI seeking market authorisation of qHPV after the phase second and third clinical trial was finished with the Department of Biotechnology's support, the DCGI's approval came following a recommendation by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the CDSCO on June 15.

According to DBT representatives, the new vaccine is based on VLPs (virus-like particles), just as the hepatitis B vaccination, and it is designed to protect by producing antibodies against the L1 protein of the HPV virus. According to DBT, the indigenous vaccination will prove to be inexpensive and accessible.

One of the top three most prevalent cancers in women in India is cervical cancer, which is also one of the rare tumours where a virus is truly the cause. The cervical lining undergoes alterations as a result of this virus called the human papillomavirus, which ultimately results in cancer. The virus is extremely contagious and spreads between men and women through sexual contact.

The native quadrivalent HPV vaccine Cervavac, produced by the SII, offers protection against 4 of the most prevalent high-risk HPV strains, namely 6,11,16, and 18. The vaccination should ideally be administered as soon as possible, ideally no earlier than age 9 and no later than age 26. You can still benefit from it after age 26, but you should speak with your physician first.

This vaccination can lower the incidence of cervical cancer by more than 80% and is a more cost-effective option than foreign-grown Cervarix and Gardasil. The Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) showed high efficacy in the patient population during the studies run by SSI and DBT as part of the vaccine development process.

In 85–90% of cases, the vaccine was found to prevent 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," according to Dr. N K Arora, Chairperson of the COVID working group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), who was speaking about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Furthermore, he hoped that someday the vaccine will be included in the government's National Immunization Program for females aged 9 to 14 years old.

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