The scientific completion of Cervavac, India’s first locally developed quadrivalent human papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer, was announced by Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Jitendra Singh on Thursday, September 1.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women worldwide, according to the WHO, despite being entirely avoidable. Globally, the disease caused 311,000 fatalities in 2018 and is projected to have affected 570,00 women.
The vaccine will be introduced later this year, Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary of India’s Department of Biotechnology and Chairperson of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), said The Indian Express.
A type of gynecologic cancer that affects a woman’s reproductive organs is cervical cancer. According to the CDC, early symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow end of the uterus.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a collection of more than 200 related viruses, is what causes cervical cancer. Some of these viruses are transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. Both men and women can contract the virus, and if the infection persists for a long time, it may result in cancer.
Depending on the age, the vaccine will be given in two or three doses. The HPV vaccine is often advised for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12.
Others require three shots, while youngsters who receive the dose before turning 15 just require two. The shot is advised up until the age of 26. More information regarding how the vaccine was created has not yet been disclosed by the Serum Institute of India. According to Dr. Amit Upadhyay, the company has a solid track record, and preliminary results on the vaccine’s effectiveness were promising.
“Screening and vaccination are two powerful tools that are available for preventing cervical cancer. Still, there is little awareness among women about the prevention of this cancer and less than 10% of Indian women get screened. All women aged 30-49 must get screened for cervical cancer even if they have no symptoms and get their adolescent daughters vaccinated with the HPV vaccine,” Dr Joshi said.
The largest challenge will be assigning enough funds and personnel to vaccinate the vast population of adolescent females between the ages of 9 and 15, in order to provide them with early HPV protection. Priced far cheaper than other foreign vaccines, the vaccine is probably going to cost between Rs 200 and 400 each dosage. Priced at roughly Rs 10,000 in India, Gardasil 9 is more expensive than the MERCK HPV vaccine, which costs Rs 3000 each dose.