Cervavac: First indigenously developed Human Papillomavirus Vaccine


    In News

    • Recently, the Union Minister of Science and Technology announced the scientific completion of Cervavac which is India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent human papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer.

    Data/ Facts

    • Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally according to the WHO.
      • It is preventable.
    • In 2018, an estimated 570, 00 women were diagnosed with the disease and it accounted for 311,000 deaths across the world. 

    About Cervavac

    • Manufacturer:
      • Cervavac is developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India in coordination with the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
    • Virus:
      • Almost all cervical cancer cases are linked to certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that is transmitted through sexual contact.
    • Lifecycle:
      • While the body’s immune system usually gets rid of the HPV infection naturally within two years, in a small percentage of people the virus can linger over time and turn some normal cells into abnormal cells and then cancer. 
    • Prevention
      • Screening and vaccination are two powerful tools that are available for preventing cervical cancer. 
      • 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. 
    • How common is cervical cancer in India?
      • India accounts for about a fifth of the global burden of cervical cancer, with 1.23 lakh cases and around 67,000 deaths per year.
      • It kills one woman every 8 minutes in the country.
    • How effective is the new vaccine?
      • HPV vaccines are given in two doses and data has shown that the antibodies that develop after both are administered can last up to six or seven years.
      • Booster shots may not be required for the cervical cancer vaccine.
      • It is likely to be significantly cheaper, slated to cost approximately Rs 200 to 400.
    • Challenges
      • The biggest task will be in allocating adequate resources and manpower for vaccinating the massive demographic of adolescent girls aged between 9 and 15.
      • There is a huge need for stepping up awareness about the disease and the vaccine in the community.
      • Screening is very low in the community and that is a concern.

    Source: IE