India launched its first fully indigenously produced vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis (JE), a mosquito-borne viral infection that affects the central nervous system.
The vaccine named JENVAC has been jointly developed by the National Institute of Virology, Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech Ltd. under the public-private-partnership model for the prevention and control of JE and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) that has killed more than 3000 people since last three years in the eastern part of India. JE Vaccine (JENVAC) is not only the first fully indigenous vaccine, but it is also based on an Indian strain.
The Immunization Programme against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES):
The immunization programme will be implemented in 60 priority districts for a period of 5 years as part of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of JE and AES. Of 171 endemic districts in India, 118 districts are covered under JE immunization programme that has about Rs. 4000 crore outlay. Initially the programme will focus on 5 worst affected states— Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. JE kills around 1000 persons in a year, particularly between the months of July and October. India currently imported its stock of live JE vaccine from China.
What is Japanese Encephalitis?
Japanese Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease. It leads to acute inflammation of the Brain.
What are the reservoirs and vectors of this virus?
- Domestic pigs and wild birds (herons) are reservoirs of the virus.
- Amongst the most important vectors of this disease are the mosquitoes Culex tritaeniorhynchus and Culex vishnui.
- Abrupt onset of high fever
- Behavioral changes
- Unconsciousness, even slipping into coma