Hyderabad: In a major scientific breakthrough, the department of biotechnology and Bharat Biotech announced the discovery of India’s first indigenously-developed Rotavirus vaccine to fight severe forms of diarrhoea that kill over 1,00,000 Indian children every year.
The vaccine will be sold at Rs 54, making it easily available once it completes the registration process. The random, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase-III clinical trial enrolled 6,799 infants in India (aged six to seven weeks at the time of enrolment) at three hospitals in the country.
The clinical study showed that rotavirus vaccine is efficacious in preventing severe rotavirus diarrhoea in low-resource settings in India. At the same time, it significantly reduces the severe rotav-irus diarrhoea by more than half, 56 per cent during the first year of life, with protection continuing into the second year of life.
“This is an important scientific breakthrough agai-nst rotavirus infections, the most severe and lethal cause of childhood diarrhoea,” said DBT secretary Dr K. Vijay Raghavan.
Vaccine a result of 28 years’ research
Indigenously-developed Rotavirus vaccine was developed through a uni-que social innovation partnership that brought together the experience and expertise of Indian and international researchers as well as the public and private sectors.
The vaccine originated from a weakened strain of rotavirus that was isolated from an Indian child at the AIIMS in New Delhi in 1985-86.
Since then, partners have included DBT, Bharat Biotech, the US National Institutes of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine and NGO named PATH.
Dr M.K. Bhan, who recently completed his service as DBT Secretary, was tireless in fostering the social innovation partnership. Dr Bhan said, “With its low price and strong efficacy, the vaccine must help to significantly reduce the incidence of diarrhoea due to rotavirus among children in India.”