According to WHO(World Health Organization), the fourth most common cancer in women is cervical cancer. Worldwide, an estimated 570,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, and 311,000 passed away from this illness.
According to NCBI(National Center for Biotechnology Information), about 6-29% of all cancers in women in India are caused by cervical cancer.
As per WHO 2019 report, there were 45,300 deaths from cervical cancer in India.
Cervical cancer is cancer of the lower portion of the uterus that connects to the vagina called the cervix. It is a cancer that may spread to other organs if not treated. HPV(Human papillomavirus) is associated generally with almost 99% of cervical cancer. Out of 14 high-risk HPV, HPV 16 and HPV 18 are most commonly associated with cervical cancer. HPV is a type of STD.
Even though the majority of HPV infections are asymptomatic and self-limiting, persistent infections can cause cervical cancer in females.
To combat this disease on September 1st, 2022 the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) launched India's first indigenously developed quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) against cervical cancer. Together with Union Minister of Science and Technology Jitendra Sigh, SII CEO Adar Poonawala introduced this vaccine at IIC Delhi.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted market authorization for the qHPV vaccine manufactured for cervical cancer patients between the ages of 9 and 26 by Serum Institute on July 12.
Speaking at the occasion, Singh claimed that COVID had promoted preventive healthcare, resulting in the creation of vaccines such as the one against cervical cancer. And he thanked the Ayushman Bharat program which has made preventive healthcare more affordable.
He said that the Department of Biotechnology has taken the initiative and is working cooperatively on the issue.
CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla, told reporters outside the event that the cervical cancer vaccine would be accessible and cost between Rs 200 and Rs 400. The final cost has not yet been determined, though. He also commented that vaccines would be first made available through the government channel, and starting the following year, some private partners would also be involved.
He further added that there is a plan in place to produce 200 million doses and that the vaccine will first be administered in India before being exported to other nations. According to Department of Biotechnology Secretary Rajesh Gokhale, over 2000 volunteers from all over the country, took part in this vaccine trial.
According to the officials, the HPV vaccine CERVAVAC has produced strong antibody responses against all targeted HPV types in all dose and age groups that are nearly 1,000 times higher than the baseline.
Dr. Darshit Patel, MD, Mumbai
According to the National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020, "the second most prevalent cancer among women in India between the ages of 15 and 44 is cervical cancer".
HPV vaccines were previously only accessible from foreign manufacturers for about Rs 2000 to Rs 3,500 per dose. Depending on the recipient's age, the HPV vaccine is given in two to three doses. With its own indigenous vaccine, India can combat this disease at a much higher rate due to its affordability and efficacy which will be a great achievement for India in the health care sector.