According to Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawala, India’s first indigenously produced quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus (qHPV) vaccine would be accessible at an affordable price.
“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.”
This inexpensive and cost-effective vaccination, according to the Union Minister, represents a significant day for the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), as it brings India one step closer to PM Modi’s goal 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.
Cervical cancer is the second most common malignancy in India, accounting for approximately one-fourth of all cervical cancer fatalities worldwide, despite being mostly avoidable, according to Union Minister Singh.
According to current estimates, over 1.25 lakh women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in India, and over 75 thousand die from the illness. He also stated that HPVs 16 or 18 are responsible for 83% of invasive cervical cancers in India, and 70% of cases globally.
‘CERVAVAC’ is the result of a collaboration between DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is funded by Serum Institute of India Private Limited under its partnership initiative ‘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”.