Indian scientists unveiled an affordable vaccine ( a dollar a vaccine) against a deadly diarrhoea-causing virus, Rota virus, that kills some 100,000 children in India every year. Rotavirus, is globally responsible for some 453,000 deaths annually. Rotavirus is blamed for causing up to 884,000 hospitalisations in India a year, at a cost to the country of 3.4 billion rupees.
K Vijaraghavan, Secretary of India’s Department of Biotechnology said it was a product of international cooperation. For the first time Indian scientists have taken a vaccine from the earliest discovery to every stage of development. The vaccine named Rotavac will be manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. Each vaccination consists of three doses.
Each dose of licenced vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and Merc cost around 1,000 rupees.
Dr M K Bhan pioneered the project after local scientists discovered a localised rotavirus 23 years ago in a New Delhi hospital. 25 percent of all diarrhoeal admissions would be prevented by this. More than 300,000 babies die within 24 hours of being born in India each year from infections and other preventable causes.
NIH has also congratulated the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), Bharat Biotech International, Ltd., and the scientists, government and people of India on the important results from the ROTAVAC rotavirus vaccine study.
An oral vaccine, Rotavac will be administered to infants in three dose course at the age of 6, 10 and 14 weeks. It will be given along with routine immunizations recommended at these ages.
Comments: This is wonderful news. Not only do we have an indigenous vaccine with Indian strains, and studies from AIIMS, but the cost of the vaccine is mindbogglingly amazing. In this era of MNCs vaccines where in all vaccines appear to cost more than INR 1000 at least, including currently available Rotavirus vaccines, this price point of INR 54 is going to help prevent Rotavirus disease in millions of kids and prevent lakhs of children from dying. Well done India !