New Delhi [India], September 1, ANI: India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus (qHPV) vaccine will be available at an affordable price, said Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawala on Thursday.
“The vaccine for cervical cancer will be available in a few months. We will announce the price in a few months. It may be priced between Rs 200-400 but prices are yet to be finalized. We will finalise it after manufacturing and discussion with the Government of India,” said Poonawalla.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, who was present as a Chief guest on the occasion of the announcement of India’s first indigenously developed vaccine, “CERVAVAC” for the prevention of cervical cancer, said, “India has come out with the first indigenously developed vaccine for cervical cancer, prevalent among women of the younger age group. Thanks to Prime Minister we can now afford to look for preventive healthcare. This vaccine will be affordable.”
On the launch of a vaccine, Singh congratulated the team of scientists, Adar Poonawala and said, “The manner in which they have come out with this launch with a very passionate pursuit was for scientists and as Poonawala said it will be launched officially in a few months.”
“As the Minister said today we have launched the scientific and celebrated the science. The vaccine for cervical cancer will be available in a few months. We will give it to our country first and later to the world,” said Poonawala on the launch of the vaccine.
On manufacturing of a vaccine Poonawala said, “We are preparing to make 200 million doses in two years.”
Union Minister further said that this affordable and cost-effective vaccine marks an important day for the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) as it takes India a step closer to PM Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
“Historic milestone in Preventive Healthcare, under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. India’s first indigenously developed Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) against Cervical Cancer launched by Department of Biotechnology under Union Ministry of Science and Technology,” Singh tweeted.
Union Minister Singh pointed out that Cervical cancer ranks as the second most prevalent cancers in India and accounts for nearly one-fourth of the world’s cervical cancer deaths despite being largely preventable.
He said that the current estimates indicate that every year approximately 1.25 lakhs women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and over 75 thousand die from the disease in India, and 83 per cent of invasive cervical cancers are attributed to HPVs 16 or 18 in India, and 70 per cent of cases worldwide.
‘CERVAVAC’ is an outcome of a partnership of DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Serum Institute of India Private Limited for the indigenous development of quadrivalent vaccine through its partnership programme ‘Grand Challenges India’
Dr Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, DBT said, “this is a celebration of collective efforts of all stakeholders and added that partnerships with industries are becoming incredibly important for doing R&D, which requires huge funding. India will take the lead in vaccine development and medicine by breaking all barriers for the betterment of mankind.”
Dr N Kalaiselvi, DG, CSIR in her address said that the cancer vaccine will help Indian women and women across the globe in a major way and we may see in near future the version 1, 2 and 3 of “CERVAVAC”, as technologies are short-lived.
She said, “India Can Do” and added that we will come out with Indian solutions to Indian problems in true spirit of Atmanir Bharat.
Noted film actress Manisha Koirala, who bravely fought and won the battle against ovarian cancer joined virtually to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology and particularly DBT for reaching this milestone.
“This is a great day for women in India and women the world over, as there is life beyond cancer,” said Koirala.
She said cost effective preventive treatment will inspire millions of such patients to say “Yes to Life”.