NEW DELHI: An Indian vaccine manufacturer has rolled out the world’s lowest dose-volume rotavirus vaccine. The vaccine was made available in the private markets of the country starting from Tuesday.Developed by Bharat Biotech, oral rotavirus vaccine ROTAVAC 5D- that can prevent rotavirus diarrhoea in young children, can be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius and be administered in just 5 drops. It was launched by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
The first generation, rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC by the company was developed under a public-private partnership with the Centre’s department of biotechnology and other international partners. It required a much lower temperature for storage and was also required in higher doses for full efficacy.
Krishna Ella, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said that the upgraded vaccine is cost-effective due to its efficacy and low cold chain footprint. As per World Health Organisation estimates, of India’s more than 23 lakh annual deaths among children, over 3.3 lakh deaths are attributable to diarrhoeal diseases. Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea in children in several developing countries including India.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which included rotavirus vaccine in its universal immunisation programme last year is also looking to expand the coverage to all states and Union Territories soon.For now, the government, however, will keep supplying the previous version of the rotavirus vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech due to cost and supply-chain issues.