Rotavirus Current Affairs - 2020

GoI to expand WHO’s 3S programme in the country

The Government of India will expand the 3S programme-Smart Safety Surveillance of WHO in the country. The expansion is being done to make sure the vaccines distributed under universal immunization programme are safe and also to optimize post-marketing surveillance of priority drugs.

3S Programme in India

The programme was introduced by WHO (World Health Organization) in India considering limited safety data on vaccines in the country.

Under 3S programme, India is currently evaluating rotavirus vaccines. The Government is also planning to collaborate the key stakeholders of the programme to ensure high levels of vigilance. The key stakeholders of 3S programme include Ministry of Health and Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).

GoI will also expand the coverage of PCV (Pneumonal Conjugate Vaccine) to all states by 2022 under 3S programme.

Significance

According to ministry of Health and Family Welfare, often new medical products that enter Indian markets are with limited safety data from clinical trials. Also, they are pertinent to small controlled population and therefore difficult to track. Hence, it becomes essential to monitor post-marketing of immunization programmes.

The PCV project was launched in India in 2017. Even after 2 years, the Health ministry has not yet launched an impact study about the programme. Such shortcomings are to be addressed under the new expansion programme.

Also, it is essential to have impact evaluation of newly launched vaccines for further policy decisions.

Rotavac: First India-designed vaccine to pass WHO test

Rotavac became first Indigenously developed vaccine from India to be pre-qualified by World Health Organisation (WHO). It means that vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in South America and Africa.

So far, several vaccines from India have been pre-qualified by WHO, but Rotavac is first vaccine entirely developed locally to get this status in safety and efficacy.

Rotavac

Rotavac conceived and developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited. It protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus. It was developed under the joint collaboration between India and United States in area of medical research.

It was developed under public-private partnership (PPP) model that involved Ministry of Science and Technology, institutions of the US Government and NGOs in India supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The vaccine was built on strain of the virus isolated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi over 30 years ago. It has been included in India’s national immunisation programme. The vaccine was tested in field for over a year, have not shown any negative effect.

Significance

This recognition signifies credible industrial, scientific and regulatory process in place to develop vaccines in India. It paves the way for health and humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF, GAVI and Pan-American Health Organization to procure Rotavac for public health vaccination programmes across the world.

Rotavirus

It is a most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants below 11 months age group in India. It spreads from person to person due to bacterial and parasiting agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water. It is responsible for estimated 36% of hospitalisations for childhood diarrhoea around world and for estimated 200,000 deaths in low- and middle-income countries. In India, diarrhoea caused by rotavirus, kills nearly 80 thousand children under age of 5 years and up to 10 lakh hospitalizations each year.