Home / Science / Health /  India launches its first cervical cancer vaccine, Serum likely to keep cost 200-400

NEW DELHI : The Central government launched India first vaccine against cervical cancer--Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV), has been developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) on Thursday. According to the Serum Institute, the vaccine is likely to cost 200-400 per dose. 

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India said “We will announce the price of the vaccine in a few months. It will be around 200-400. We will start production by November and December and final decision on rates will be discussed with the government." 

Dr Jitendra Singh, union minister of science and technology launched India’s first indigenously developed vaccine, “CERVAVAC" for the prevention of cervical cancer. 

As per the government data, cervical cancer ranks as the 2nd most prevalent cancers in India and accounts for nearly one-fourth of the world’s cervical cancer deaths despite being largely preventable. Every year approximately 1.25 lakhs women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and over 75 thousand females die from the disease in India. 

“The most promising intervention for preventing cervical cancer is vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV). It is estimated that HPV types 16 and 18 (HPV-16 and HPV-18) together contribute to approximately 70% of all invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide," said the union minister. 

The union government now plans to target girls in the 9-14 years age group for vaccination against cervical cancer. Before, the rollout of this vaccine, the Centre will launch a massive sensitization programme to educate parents and school authorities. As of now, whichever imported HPV vaccine is only available in the private sector at 3,500 to 4,000 per dose. However, two doses are required to complete the course of vaccination. 

Dr Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, DBT said that this is a celebration of collective efforts of all stakeholders and added that partnerships with industries are becoming incredibly important for doing R&D, which requires huge funding. “India will take a lead in vaccine development and medicine by breaking all barriers for betterment of mankind," said Gokhale. 

The government said that ‘CERVAVAC’ is an outcome of a partnership of DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Serum Institute for the indigenous development of quadrivalent vaccine through its partnership programme ‘Grand Challenges India’. 

Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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