India’s First Indigenous Vaccine against Pneumonia

The first Indian vaccine against Pneumonia has been developed by Serum Institute of India. The vaccine is to be made available to the domestic makers soon.

Highlights

India has access to pneumonia vaccines. However, the new locally developed vaccine is much cheaper than the other pneumonia vaccines such as NYSE:PFE produced by Pfizer and LSE:GSK produced by GlaxoSmithKline. These two vaccines are currently used in India for immunisation against Pneumonia.

The newly developed vaccines is to be used for immunisation against pneumonia caused by “Streptococcus Pneumonia”. The clinical trials of the vaccine, all the three phases, were conducted in India and in Gambia (an African Nation).

Background

According to UNICEF, more than one lakh children under the age of five die every year due to pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine are currently under Universal Immunization Programme of India. PCV is highly expensive. It consumes 50% of the budget allocated to the Universal Immunization Programme. The programme covers vaccination for twelve other diseases. They are Tuberculosis, tetanus, rubella, Japanese Encephalitis, measles, hepatitis, pertussis, etc.

The cost challenge of India’s Immunisation Programme was to mount as GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) was to withdraw its support for India from 2022.

Pneumonia in India

According to the Lancet study, India accounts to 20% of Pneumonia deaths in children. The top five contributors of Pneumonia in India are Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs of the lungs. The air sacs of the lungs might get filled with fluid or pus. This causes difficulty in breathing. Pneumonia is caused by variety of micr organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi.

There are more than 600 million air sacs in human lungs. These air sacs are elastic and expand to take in the oxygen as one breathes in air.

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