India rolls out its first cervical cancer vaccine

The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's leading vaccine manufacturer, has developed the first vaccine against cervical cancer to enter the market soon, the company and the government confirmed on Thursday.


Cervical cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer in women worldwide, with about 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

Approximately 90 percent of new cases and deaths globally occurred in low- and middle-income countries that year.

Two types of human papillomavirus (HPV), 16 and 18, cause at least 70pc cervical cancers, and the Indian Department of Biotechnology stated that the Indian vaccine would work on types 16 and 18 of HPV, as well as types 6 and 11.

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Merck & Co and GSK Plc are leading manufacturers of HPV vaccines.

“The locally developed vaccine will make our country self-sufficient in addressing female mortality from cervical cancer,” said Adar Poonawalla, Executive Director of SII.”

He told reporters that the vaccine would go on sale in a couple of months, first for the Indian market and then for the entire world. It may be between 200 and 400 rupees ($2.51-$5.03) and the company will aim to generate approximately 200 million doses in two years, Reuter’s partner ANI cited Poonawalla as saying.

The vaccine will be administered via injection in two doses among 9-14-year-olds and in three doses for those between 15 and 26.

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