PM Narendra Modi has launched India’s first home-grown Rotavirus vaccine, at a price point of Rs. 63. This makes it the cheapest Rotavirus vaccine globally, and is expected to bring down the high number of deaths caused by the virus in India and around the world.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s first indigenously developed Rotavirus vaccine “Rotavac” on Monday, March 9 in New Delhi.
Rotavirus is one of the most common common causes of diarrhoea which leads to over 10 lakh hospitalisations and kills nearly 80,000 children under the age of five every year.
The vaccine is expected to bring down the large number of infant deaths due to the Rotavirus diarrhoea in India and across the globe.
The innovative public-private collaboration involved the work of 300 scientists and a partnership between the Ministry of Science and Technology, institutions of the U.S. government and various Indian government institutions and NGOs. The initiative has been supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Vaccines work to save and protect children from diseases like rotavirus for a lifetime,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a press statement released in 2013. “This public-private partnership is an exemplary model of how to develop affordable technologies that save lives.”
Bharat Biotech, which played an important role in developing this vaccine, spent around Rs. 500 crore on it. Out of the total funds, Rs. 400 crore were spent on the product development and Rs. 100 crore on manufacturing.
The latest three-dose vaccine will play a crucial role in preventing the Rotavirus from entering the body which leads to a patient’s death.
While multinational pharmaceutical companies distribute the vaccine in India at about Rs. 1,100 per dose, Bharat Biotech has decided to sell it for Rs.63 only in order to make it accessible to marginalised and lower income communities as well.
“Offering rotavirus vaccines at US $1 price is a reaffirmation of our commitment to make vaccines affordable globally,” said Dr. Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech
The successful launch is being celebrated by all as the teams got the breakthrough after over 25 years of hard work on the vaccine.
The facility in Genome Valley Hyderabad can manufacture 300 million doses per year. During the launch, the Prime Minister highlighted that the solutions found in India can be of great relevance for the entire world, especially the developing countries.
This is the third such vaccine available globally against Rotavirus and, also the cheapest at current prices.
PM Modi also mentioned that the collaboration between India and US for this vaccine shows the successful partnership between the two countries in the area of medical research.
“This is an important scientific breakthrough against rotavirus infections, the most severe and lethal cause of childhood diarrhoea, responsible for approximately 100,000 deaths of small children in India each year,” said DBT Secretary Dr K. Vijay Raghavan in a press statement released in 2013.
The virus which causes immense health damage not only leads to emotional stress to the families but also causes excess medical expenditure which they can hardly afford, eventually pushing them below the poverty line. The latest invention will play a great positive role in solving the issue to a large extent.
We congratulate the gifted Indian researchers on this latest achievement and hope to see many such success stories in the future as well.