NEW DELHI :The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) plans to expand the annual production capacity of quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to around 70 million doses, starting this year, according to a report. company spokesperson.
The company’s plan to expand vaccine production capacity from 2 million to 3 million doses currently aligns with the government’s efforts to introduce the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer for girls ages 9 to 14, as announced in the interim budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
“Currently, the SII has a production capacity of around 2-3 million doses of the Cervavac vaccine. That said, the company plans to significantly expand this capacity, with the goal of reaching between 60 and 70 million doses,” the spokesperson said. mint. The company did not disclose any financial or other details about the production increase.
The company said it has partnered with the Union Health Ministry for enrollment of Cervavac vaccine in the pan-India immunization programme. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), the country’s highest advisory body on immunization, recommended the inclusion of the vaccine in the Universal Immunization Program (UIP).
While pricing discussions for the government structure are still preliminary, including the vaccine in the UIP could dramatically increase its accessibility and impact.
“It would be too early to talk about prices. The Cervavac vaccine is currently available on the private market and has also had a positive response. “We will continue to raise awareness about HPV and cervical cancer through various initiatives,” she added.
The company had announced in 2022 the manufacture of the first indigenous vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer. Cervavac was launched in January 2023 for commercial use and is available in private hospitals in $2,000 for two doses.
Before the IBS vaccine, India imported the HPV vaccine mainly produced by Merck & Co. Merck’s Gardasil vaccine has two variants: the quadrivalent vaccine known as quarda-4 and the nonavalent 9, which is the newer vaccine. Gardasil-4 costs about $3,957 per dose, while the cost per dose of Gardasil-9 is around $11,000.
States like Delhi had initially announced free HPV vaccine for teenage girls, which was available at the state-run Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI). However, the program was discontinued due to its high cost.
Human papillomavirus vaccines prevent infection with certain types of human papillomavirus. The available HPV vaccines protect against two, four, or nine types of HPV. All HPV vaccines protect at least against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause the highest risk of cervical cancer.
According to estimates released on February 1 by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), India reported more than 14.13 lakh new cases of cancer in 2022, of which 127,526 were cervical cancer. .
In addition to Cervavac, SII is manufacturing a meningitis vaccine, MenFive, which is being developed through a 13-year collaboration between SII and PATH, a global nonprofit, with crucial funding from the UK government. MenFive protects against the five predominant causes of meningococcal meningitis on the African continent.
The company is also working on Dengusiil, the first indigenous dengue vaccine, to prepare it for the market. After a successful Phase I trial of the dengue vaccine in Australia, SII announced in November 2023 that it will soon begin Phase I and II trials of its Dengusiil vaccine in India.
SII, which manufactures Covishield, said it offers a variant of the XBB1 variant Covid-19 vaccine that is very similar to the JN.1 variant in the United States and Europe. “We aim to license this vaccine in India,” the company said.
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