What India's first HPV vaccine could mean for fight against cervical cancer

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What India's first HPV vaccine could mean for fight against cervical cancer

  • Serum Institute of India (SII)’s vaccine Cervavac recently received Drugs Controller General of India’s (DGCI) approval for market authorisation.

About the vaccine

  • Cervavac: India’s first quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) vaccine.
  • It will protect women against cervical cancer.
  • It will be rolled out in national HPV vaccination strategies, and be available at a cost more affordable than existing vaccines.

The disease

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  • Cervical cancer is preventable, but kills one woman every eight minutes in the country.
  • It is preventable if detected early and managed effectively.
  • It is a common sexually transmitted infection.
  • Long-lasting infection with certain types of HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer.
  • It is the second most common cancer type at global level and second most common cause of cancer death in women of reproductive age (15–44).
  • India accounts for about a fifth of the global burden according to WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO).
  • Preventive tools: Screening and vaccination
  • There is little awareness among women and less than 10% of Indian women get screened.

Existing vaccines

  • Two vaccines licensed globally are available in India - a quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil) and a bivalent vaccine (Cervarix).
  • HPV vaccination was introduced in 2008, it is not included in national immunisation programme.

The new vaccine

  • It is based on VLP (virus-like particles), similar to hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Provides protection by generating antibodies against the HPV virus’s L1 protein.

Prelims take away

  • National Immunization Programme.
  • Human Papilloma virus
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Cervarix
  • Cervavac