Rotavac- India’s first indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine unveiled
India has unveiled its first indigenous vaccine against rotavirus- Rotavac, the major cause of diarrhoea deaths among children. The preventive vaccine has passed all clinical trials and it will be available for sale in the market by 2014, subject to clearance from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
What will be the advantages of Rotavac?
As the vaccine has been indigenously developed, it is likely to be around Rs 54 per dose which is 1/40th of the imported vaccines available in the market at present. Low-cost vaccine is expected to help overcome childhood deaths in India as well a number of other low-income countries in the world including Kenya and Bangladesh.
The dosage for the vaccine is similar to the oral polio drop and will be given under the same regimen – 6, 10 and 14 weeks. It has shown an efficacy of 56% in severe diarrhoea and 61% in very severe diarrhoea cases during trials. Besides, there is no side-effect or safety issue.
- Most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants below 11 months age group in India.
- Spreads from person to person.
- As per a study conducted at seven different sites in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian countries including India, rotavirus causes one episode of MSD for every four infants each year.
- Causes 6.1 lakh childhood deaths each year worldwide out of which more than 80% occur in low-income countries.
- Although efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene make a significant impact on diarrhoea due to bacterial and parasiting agents as they are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water, the best solution to check incidence of diarrhoea caused by rotavirus is preventive vaccination.