Indian scientists have developed a new vaccine to protect children from rotaviruses which cause severe diarrhoea among infants and children. In India, nearly one lakh children die every year because of rotavirus infections. Developed by the scientists of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Bharat Biotech, the vaccine will cost around Rs. 54 per dose.
An oral vaccine, Rotavac will be administered to infants in three dose course at the age of 6, 10 and 14 weeks. It will be given along with routine immunizations recommended at these ages. The vaccine efficacy compares favourably with the efficacy of the currently licensed vaccines. Presently, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck market effective rotavirus vaccine.
The commercial availability of the vaccine will be done only after getting a clearance from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). “With its low price and strong efficacy, the vaccine has the potential to reduce the incidence of severe diarrhoea caused by rotavirus, “Dr M K Bhan Advisor to the Indian Academy of Pediatrics and former secretary of department of biotechnology said.
This partnership in social innovation shows how the biomedical science has progressed, he said adding: “The safety profile of the vaccine is outstanding. I am confident that the efficacy will improve with time.”
“ This is an important scientific breakthrough against rotavirus infections, the most severe and lethal cause of childhood diarrhoea,” DBT secretary Dr K VijayRaghvan said.
The clinical results he said indicated that the vaccine if licensed could save the lives of thousands of children every year.
“ This represents the successful development of a novel vaccine from the developing world which can be matched with global standards.” Dr Krishna M Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said.