SII To Launch India's First Indigenously Developed Vaccine Against Cervical Cancer Tomorrow

SII To Launch India's First Indigenously Developed Vaccine Against Cervical Cancer Tomorrow

Pune-based pharmaceutical firm Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will launch India’s first indigenously developed Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine against cervical cancer on Thursday, September 1, 2022, media reports said. The qHPV vaccine is called CERVAVAC.

Last month, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted market authorisation to SII to manufacture an indigenously developed vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer. 

In India, the second most frequent cancer among women aged 15 to 44 years is cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus, and are sexually transmitted.

According to a report by news agency PTI, the vaccine will be launched by Union Minister of Science and Technology Jitendra Singh at India International Centre, Delhi. Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the SII, will also be present at the event. 

Vaccine Demonstrates Robust Antibody Response Against All Targeted HPV Types

CERVAVAC has demonstrated a robust antibody response against all targeted HPV types, and in all dose and age groups. The response is nearly 1,000 times higher than the baseline. 

On June 15, 2022, the DCGI’s Subject Expert Committee (SEC) recommended the qHPV vaccine developed by the SII for cervical cancer patients belonging to the age group of nine to 26 years. Both male and female patients with cervical cancer belonging to this age group can receive the vaccine.

Following the successful completion of the Phase II and Phase III clinical trials for the vaccine, Prakash Kumar Singh, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII, applied to the DCGI, seeking market approval for the qHPV vaccine. 

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Vaccine Is Very Effective And Prevents Cervical Cancer: NTAGI Chief

Dr NK Arora, chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said it is an exciting experience to launch a made-in-India vaccine, news agency ANI reported. 

“It is very exciting and I must say it makes us very happy that our daughters and granddaughters will now be able to get this much-awaited vaccine,” Dr Arora was quoted as saying in the ANI report. 

Dr Arora added that the qHPV vaccine is one of the last major vaccines to be introduced. “Now, Indian vaccines will be available and we hope that it will be launched in the National Immunisation programme for 9-14-year-old girls,” he said.

The NTAGI Chief said that the vaccine is very effective and prevents cervical cancer. He explained that if the vaccine is administered to young children and daughters, they will be protected against infection, and as a result, cancer will not occur later in life.  

Why Are HPV Vaccines Required?

HPV vaccines are important because they could reduce the impact of cervical cancer and other cancers caused by the human papillomavirus. More than 95 per cent of cervical cancer is caused by sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. This is the fourth most common type of cancer in women globally, with 90 per cent of these women living in low-and middle-income countries.

There are different strains of the human papillomavirus which spread through sexual contact. They are associated with most cases of cervical cancer. 

Gardasil 9 is the HPV vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and can be used for both men and women. 

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If the vaccine is given before a female is exposed to the virus, most cases of cervical cancer can be prevented. 

According to Mayo Clinic, males who are vaccinated against the type of human papillomavirus associated with cervical cancer may help protect females from the virus by possibly decreasing the risk of transmission.

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