Serum Institute to launch vaccine for cervical cancer

The institute is ready to keep vaccines in stock

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Serum Institute is ready to launch Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine to fight cervical cancer. Photo credit: CDC on Unsplash
Serum Institute is ready to launch Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine to fight cervical cancer. Photo credit: CDC on Unsplash

The Serum Institute of India (SII) has asked for approval from the government to produce the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine to fight cervical cancer. The company wants to complete the Phase I/II clinical trials at the earliest. 

As per the report published in Business Standard, the Serum Institute plans to launch its Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine by November. However, Serum Institute is busy maintaining the vaccine stock while waiting for approval from the country’s drug regulator. Foreign manufacturers Gardasil by Merck and Cervarix by Glaxo Smithkline make HPV vaccines available in India.

The Union Health Ministry has received a letter from Prakash Kumar Singh, director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, to let them know that it takes 5-6 months to manufacture the qHPV vaccine. However, the letter also stated that SII is ready to make the vaccines and keep them in stock to save people’s lives.

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Serum Institute focuses on the need for vaccines

According to SII, more than one lakh Indian women have cervical cancer. It is the second most prevalent cancer among women aged 15-44 years.

Today, foreign manufacturers dominate the market of vaccines for cervical cancer, and the citizens have to spend more due to high pricing, Singh from SII declared to the journalists of The Financial Express that more than five years have been spent under the leadership of chief executive Adar Poonawalla for developing the vaccine to help fight cervical cancer, also called Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine.

SII further stated that the government’s approval for the vaccine would allow the locally produced vaccine to be included in the Universal immunization program (As per the report published in the Financial Express).

Records for cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer suffered by women across the globe and the second-most in women from the less developed regions. It is a prominent problem faced by all women worldwide.

As per the data mentioned in Business Standard, World Health Organization (WHO) records show that more than 85% of the deaths caused by cervical cancer were from countries with low or middle-level incomes. WHO data shows more than 530,000 women had cervical cancer globally as per estimations of the FY 2012, and there were nearly 270,000 deaths – 7.5% of the total female cancer deaths.

The women population in India above 15 years old stands at 437.76 million. These women are at an increased risk of cervical cancer. In India, about 1,22,844 women go through cervical cancer pain, out of which 67,477 die from this illness as per FY 2012 estimation. Cervical cancer occupies second place among the types of cancer that affect women between the ages of 15 and 44 in India.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is responsible for most cervical cancer cases. HPV is the causative agent of many sexually transmitted diseases in men and women. 70% of cervical cancers are caused due to HPV types 16 and 18. As per recent studies, more than 82.7 % of invasive cervical cancers revealed the presence of HPVs 16 or 18.

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