India’s first indigenous pneumonia vaccine by SII launched
The first indigenous vaccine against pneumonia, developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), was launched by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday. The vaccine would be sold under the name ‘Pneumosil’ and would be available either as a single dose in a vial and pre-filled syringe or as multidose in vials at affordable prices, the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) said in a statement.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) would be used to treat pneumonia in children and has been developed by SII in collaboration with other partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the statement said. Vardhan said that the vaccine has been developed during the Covid-19 pandemic time and is also in line with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat program (self-reliant India) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Pneumosil has been extensively evaluated in 5 randomized controlled clinical trials and has demonstrated comparable safety and immunogenicity against licensed pneumococcal vaccines across diverse populations of India and Africa, where Pneumosil was administered to adults, toddlers and infants using different vaccination schedules,” Vardhan said. He also said the vaccine has proven safe during these trials and has prevented pneumonia following which the Drugs Controller General (India) approved the vaccine in July 2020 after the approval from the subject expert committee (SEC).
Hailing SII, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by the number of doses produced, the minister said, “Serum Institute’s vaccines are used in 170 countries and every third child in the world is immunized with the manufacturer’s vaccine.” He also appreciated India’s scientific and medical fraternity, saying that the indigenous vaccine would reduce India’s dependency on high priced PCVs from foreign manufacturers.
During the launch of the vaccine, the health minister also noted that pneumonia accounts for nearly 1 million deaths worldwide and is the single largest infectious cause of death among children under five years of age.