Home / News / India /  India's first vaccine against cervical cancer to be launched today; here's all you need to know

India is set to gets its first cervical cancer vaccine, Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) today i.e. 1 September. The most awaited vaccine will be launched by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Jitendra Singh at IIC Delhi.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had on 12 July granted market authorisation to Serum Institute of India (SII) to manufacture an indigenously-developed vaccine against cervical cancer. Cervical cancer in India ranks as the second most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age. The revolutionary step for the Indian demography will now help prevent cases of cervical cancer. 

According to Dr N K Arora, Chairperson of the COVID working group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) said it is an exciting experience to launch a made-in-India vaccine.

“It is very exciting and I must say it makes us very happy that our daughters and granddaughters will now be able to get this much-awaited vaccine".

Here's all you need to know about India's first vaccine against cervical cancer:

The cervical cancer vaccine, Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV), is developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Department of Biotechnology(DBT).

The qHPV vaccine CERVAVAC has demonstrated robust antibody response that is nearly 1,000 times higher than the baseline against all targeted HPV types and in all dose and age groups.

Dr N K Arora said, "It is very effective and prevents cervical cancer because, 85% to 90% of cases, cervical cancer is because of this particular virus and this vaccine is against those viruses. So, 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."

SII's vaccine is likely to be available at a much affordable rate. At present, the country is fully dependent on foreign manufacturers for the HPV vaccine. Three foreign companies manufacture the HPV vaccine of which two firms sell their vaccines in India. Each dose of the jab available in the market cost over 4,000, the sources told PTI. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

"The health ministry is planning to roll out qHPV for girls aged 9-14 years under the National Immunization Programme. The roll out may take up to six months," a source told PTI.

Earlier on 1 August, SII had informed the Centre that it can supply 1 crore doses of qHPV by December 2022.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, 41,91,000 women have died due to cervical cancer in India since 2019.

What is cervical cancer?

When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.

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