Meningitis , commonly called as brain fever, is one of the most dreaded disease in the world, especially in the developing countries where the high-cost treatment s are not at the reach of common man . Since the preventive vaccines for meningitis is not included in the national immunisation prgramme, the matter is worse in India , though there are vaccines of multinational companies like Sanofi -Aventis are availabIe in t he domestic market.
In an attempt to indegenise this vaccine technology and its manufacuring in India , the Pune- based Serum Institute of India Limited has tied up the UK’s premier health services body, The Health Protection Agency (UK) to develop a vaccine for the prevention of meningococcal septicaemia and meningitis, which it is hoped will be effective against all forms of the disease and may eventually be used to save children’s lives throughout the world.
Serum Institute is currently the country’s largest vaccine company in terms of market share. Dr S S Jadhav , president , quality assurance , Serum Institute of India , says that the by undertaking this collaborative project for meningitis vaccine , the company is confident of cutting the vaccine cost drastically .
Meningitis vaccine currently costs about $80 to $100 in the world at present . The only vaccine currently available in the Indian market is the vaccine developed and marketed by by Sanofi Pasture . The vaccine , which costs about Rs 800 per dose sells mainly in the metros and big cities, where people can afford it as an optional vaccine .
Dr Dhanjnjai Bhakle , medical director , Aventis P harma says that if the Serum’s project is a success , India would have a n affordable product.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is also currently committed to eliminating meningococcal disease as a public health problem and ensuring control of sporadic cases through routine health services in the shortest possible time.