Cervical Cancer Vaccine
- CERVAVAC is India’s first indigenously developed vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
- It has been developed by Serum Institute of India (SII).
- Cervical Cancer Vaccine Age Limit :
Two vaccine doses are supposed to be administered to teenage girls before they are sexually active(girls aged 9-14 years in India).
- Cervical Cancer Vaccine cost :
The vaccine will likely to be affordable costing between ₹200-400 a shot and be commercially available later this year.
- This vaccine will allow the Government of India to procure enough HPV vaccines at a special price to vaccinate nearly 50 million This will be a huge step to accelerate cervical cancer elimination in India and globally.
It is a quadrivalent vaccine, meaning it is effective against at least four variants of cancer-causing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
It is an outcome of a partnership of DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Serum Institute of India Private Limited for the indigenous development of quadrivalent vaccine through its partnership programme ‘Grand Challenges India‘.
The new vaccine is based on VLP (virus-like particles), similar to the hepatitis B vaccine, and provides protection by generating antibodies against the HPV protein.
VLP approach stimulates an immune response from the body resulting in production of antibodies.
Other Cervical Cancer Vaccine Available in India
Besides CERVAVAC, two vaccines licensed globally are available in India;
- A Quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil, marketed by Merck) &
- A Bivalent vaccine (Cervarix, marketed by Glaxo Smith Kline).
These vaccines are costly and hence are unaffordable for the vast majority of Indians.
About Cervical cancer
Almost all cervical cancer cases are linked to certain strains of HPV, a common virus that is transmitted through sexual contact.
The body’s immune system usually gets rid of the HPV infection naturally within two years.
However, in a small percentage of people the virus can linger over time and turn some normal cells into abnormal cells and then cancer.
Cervical cancer affects the entrance to the womb. The cervix is the narrow part of the lower uterus, often referred to as the neck of the womb.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer :
Symptoms include bleeding in between periods and after sexual intercourse. Foul smelling white discharge and low back pain or lower abdominal pain may also occur. In some cases there may be no symptoms.
It is preventable as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer type and the second leading cause of cancer death in women of reproductive age (15-44) worldwide.
According to the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), India accounts for approximately one-fifth of the global burden.
India witnesses 1.23 lakh cases and approximately 67,000 deaths each year (one woman every eight minutes).
Prevention is better than Cure
Cervical cancer screening and vaccination are two effective preventive measures.
There is still little awareness among women about this cancer prevention, and less than 10% of Indian women are screened.
All women aged 30-49, regardless of symptoms, should be screened for cervical cancer and their adolescent daughters vaccinated against HPV.
Cervical Cancer Vaccine – FAQs
Q. What is the name of India’s first indigenously developed vaccine to prevent cervical cancer?
Ans. CERVAVAC is India’s first indigenously developed vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
Q. Who has developed CERVAVAC?
Ans. It is an outcome of a partnership of DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Serum Institute of India Private Limited.