Kerala is showing the way again with its plan of launching its own anti-rabies vaccine!
With an estimated budget allocation of ₹150 crore, the state government project is first of its kind initiative in the country for manufacturing the vaccine directly.
The Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAH&VB) in Palode, Thiruvananthapuram has been deployed by the state Animal Husbandry Department to develop the anti-rabies vaccines. The vaccines for both humans and animals will be developed simultaneously in separate labs.
The move comes to a respite following multiple incidents of people being reported of having bitten by stray dogs in the state capital, including a baby girl, earlier this month.
According to State Animal Husbandry Department Director N N Sasi, the vaccines would be developed using advanced cell culture technology.
“Our objective is to complete the infrastructure facilities and start the work within the next six months. If everything goes as planned, we can start production within the next two-three years,” he said, reports The Indian Express.
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The state not only plans on producing the vaccine for its internal distribution and usage but also extend it to other states suffering from the lack of anti-rabies vaccine at affordable prices.
While the state presently procures the vaccine from Hyderabad-based Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), the vaccines will be distributed through veterinary hospitals and public health centres across the state as and when the production commences.
Issues like shortage of vaccines, delay in distribution, budget issues and complicated purchase procedures often acted as a hindrance for the health and veterinary authorities in acquiring anti-rabies vaccines.
A total of 10 million doses of both human and animal anti-rabies vaccine is reportedly slated for production at the labs. “The quantity can be increased in the further phases according to the demand. We hope that we can not only meet the entire demand of the state but also the requirements of other states in this regard,” Sasi said.
The project will help other states buy the vaccines from Kerala without being burdened with complicated tender procedures that come along with the purchase of most government products.
With stray dog casualties escalating in both rural and urban regions in the state, the move will help bite victims access medical care sooner.