New rotavirus vaccine designed for easier stocking, transportation
Rotavac 5D is expected to reduce the supply chain and delivery costs per dose. The new variant is available is small five-dose vials of 0.5 ml doses each, instead of the 2.5 ml doses of Rotavac administered.Updated: Dec 04, 2019 01:35 IST
Indian vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech launched another low dose-volume variant of its anti-diarrhoea rotavirus vaccine on Tuesday called Rotavac 5D, which is expected to reduce the supply chain and delivery costs per dose. The new variant is available is small five-dose vials of 0.5 ml doses each, instead of the 2.5 ml doses of Rotavac administered.
The latest variant can also be stored in 2 to 8 degrees C rather than the -20 degrees C needed for the previous one. The company is currently in the process of getting a World Health Organisation pre-qualification for the new variant, which ensures access of the vaccine in almost 100 countries.
“Rotavac 5D is the lowest dose volume rotavirus vaccine in the world. The vaccine is cost-effective due to its low cold chain footprint. It is presented in easy to store multi-dose vials, resulting in savings of nearly USD 0.30 per dose in supply chain and delivery cost,” said the chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech Dr Krishna Ella.
A single-dose loaded-syringe for the same vaccine will also be available for small private clinics.
The vaccine would cost about 25% higher, between $1 and $1.5, according to a company official.
Rotavirus vaccine is an oral drop to prevent diarrhoeal deaths in children. Three doses of five drops each have to be given to children at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks to protect against rotavirus infection.
Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of mortality for children under five years of age, accounting for about 9.3% of these deaths. And, rotavirus causes about 40% of all diarrhoea cases in India. It leads to 80,000 to 1 lakh deaths in children. It also leads to about 9 lakh admissions, and 32.7 lakh visits to the clinics in India every year.
India included Bharat Biotech’s previous variant Rotavac in its universal immunisation programme in 2016. The company’s Rotavac captures around 70% of the market for the anti-diarrhoeal vaccine in India, according to Dr Ella. There are three other vaccines available in the Indian market – Rotasil by Serum Institute of India, Rotarix by GlaxoSmithKline, and RotaTeq by Merck.
The company claims it has already sold 100 million doses of Rotavac in around 25 countries.