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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

India to Launch Vaccine Against Cervical Cancer in April-May 2023

New Delhi: The CERVAVAC human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer is expected to arrive in India by April at one-tenth of the price of internationally branded vaccines in the country, said Dr. NK Arora, Chairman, of Covid Task Force, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), on Tuesday.

Dr. Arora said, “There are two or three companies that are in the process (of manufacturing the vaccine in India), but the Serum Institute of India (SII) has already received approval from the regulators and the vaccine should be available for our patients by April or May 2023.”

“The vaccine should be available soon. I don’t know the exact price yet, but my understanding is that the price of the vaccine will be one-tenth of the international brand vaccine currently available,” he added.

Dr. Arora further informed that nearly 80,000 cases of cervical cancer occur in India every year.

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“In the last 24 hours, our country has lost 95-100 women to cervical cancer. India accounts for the majority of cervical cancer deaths in the world. Nearly 80,000 cases are reported worldwide every year. It is important to note here that Cervical Cancer is completely vaccine-preventable.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes cervical cancer, and there is a vaccine available to prevent it,” he added.

He said the Union government will be able to introduce the HPV vaccine as part of its national health program for girls between the ages of 9 and 14.

“India has joined a select group of countries where the HPV vaccine is to be developed in the next four or five months. Hopefully, we will be able to introduce the HPV vaccine as part of our national program for girls aged 9 to 14.” Vaccination is an important aspect in the prevention of cervical cancer,” said Dr. Arora.

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He added that screening women are important even after the age of 35, because cervical cancer if detected early, could be managed even in the primary health center.

A total of 250 representatives from South Asian countries are currently participating in the 50-country meeting on cervical cancer, the HPV prevention environment, and the way forward.

‘CERVAVAC’ is a result of DBT and BIRAC’s partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Serum Institute of India Private Limited for indigenous development of a quadrivalent vaccine through its partnership program – ‘Grand Challenges India’.

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