- Cervavac is India’s first indigenously developed vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
- It is a quadrivalent vaccine, meaning it is effective against at least four variants of cancer-causing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
- It has been developed by Serum Institute of India (SII) in coordination with the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
- Two vaccine doses are supposed to be administered to teenage girls before they are sexually active.
- It was approved by the Drug Controller General of India in July, 2022. It will likely be included by the Union government in its universal immunisation programme.
- The indigenously developed vaccine will likely cost ₹200-400 a shot and be commercially available in 2023.
- The new vaccine is based on VLP (virus-like particles), similar to the hepatitis B vaccine, and provides protection by generating antibodies against the HPV protein.
- VLP approach stimulates an immune response from the body resulting in production of antibodies.
Significance of cervavac
- This vaccine will allow the Government of India to procure enough HPV vaccines at a special price to vaccinate nearly 50 million girls aged 9-14 years in India.
- This will be a huge step to accelerate cervical cancer elimination in India and globally.
- In 85 percent to 90 percent of cervical cancer cases, it has been seen that the cancer used to grow in the absence of a vaccine, but now it will not happen.
- If we give this vaccine to young children and daughters in advance, then they will be safe from infection and it is possible that they may not get cervical cancer after 30 years.
- The biggest task will be in allocating adequate resources and manpower for vaccinating the massive demographic of adolescent girls aged between 9 and 15.
- There is a huge need for stepping up awareness about the disease and the vaccine in the community.
- Unlike Covid and the other vaccination programme, there is very little awareness about cervical cancer.
Other vaccine available in India
- Currently, two vaccines licensed globally are available in India;
- Gardasil – a quadrivalent vaccine marketed by Merck and
- Cervarix – a bivalent vaccine marketed by Glaxo Smith Kline.
- These vaccines are costly and hence are unaffordable for the vast majority of Indians.
- Cervavac, India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent human papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer has been developed by Serum Institute of India (SII).