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GSK’s malaria vaccine trial successful

Screenshot_5Britain’s pharmaceutical giant GaxoSmithKline (GSK) has successfully conducted the trial of the RTS,S vaccine developed by the company. In the results of the trial it was found that the vaccine nearly halved the cases of malaria experienced by children aged between five and seven months and cut the number of cases in babies aged 6 to 12 weeks by a quarter.

How would the RTS,S vaccine help?

Around 660,000 people die from malaria every year, most of them small children under the age of five. There are about 219 million cases of the disease a year worldwide, and children who survive the serious illness can suffer damage to their health and development in their lifetime afterwards. A vaccine, like RTS,S, could significant reduce the number of cases and deaths from this disease.


JE Vaccine (JENVAC) : India’s first indigenously produced Japanese Encephalitis vaccine launched


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
  • Headache
  • Behavioral changes
  • Paralyses
  • Unconsciousness, even slipping into coma


Supreme Court directs government to set up mechanism to monitor clinical trial of untested drugs

The Supreme Court directed government to put in place a mechanism to monitor the clinical trials of untested drugs on humans.

The Centre has been directed by the court to convene a meeting of Chief Secretaries or Health Secretaries of all the states to frame a law for regulation of clinical trials of drugs by multinational pharma companies.

The apex court directive came during a hearing of a PIL filed by an NGO which alleged large-scale clinical drug trials across the country by various pharmaceutical firms using Indian citizens as guinea pigs in those tests. The NGO had alleged that the clinical trials by several pharmaceutical firms were conducted indiscriminately in various states.

Previously, the court had said that uncontrolled clinical trial of drugs by multinational companies was creating “havoc” and lambasted the Centre for failing to stop the “rackets” which caused deaths. It had earlier ordered that all drug trials will be done under the supervision of the Union Health Secretary. The Centre had admitted that 2,644 people died during clinical trials of 475 new drugs during the period of 2005 to 2012.