The Worlds first ever anti-leprosy vaccine has been developed by Indian scientists at National Institute of Immunology at New Delhi. Immunotherapeutic effects of the vaccine are well established but its role for immunoprophylaxis is being examined by various regulatory agencies. Patent application is filed for the vaccine. The technology has been transferred to Cadila Pharmaceuticals (Ahmedabad) who will produce the vaccine under the trade name Leprovac. It is commercially available in India from June 1998.

The Drug Controller of India has cleared an indegineous genetically engineered cholera vaccine for trials in humans. The vaccine was developed jointly by Institute of Microbial Technology ( IMTECH) in Chandigarh, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology ( IICB) and National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata under the project initiated by Department of Biotechnology (DBT). The vaccine is based on a recombinant strain of Vibrio cholera, “VA 1.3”. most of the vaccines produced abroad are based on pathogenic strains from which harmful A subunit of toxin is knocked off and only immunogenic B unit is retained. But there is still several other toxins present in the product and it can still cause diarrhea. In the non-pathogenic strain used by Indian Scientists there is no A or B or any other toxin. To such strain which is devoid of all known virulent genes scientists have added immunogenic B subunit. The recombinant strain is found to be 100% protective and completely safe during animal tests. The vaccine offered protection against both EI Tor and 0139 Cholera strains that cause disease in India.

Indian scientists have developed two potential against the commonest type of diarrhoea in babies caused by ROTAVIRUS. The vaccine developed at Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) at Bangalore but does not lead strain “1321” that infects 60% of new borne in Bangalore but does not lead to any diarrhoeal symptoms. The strain infects from 1-day old baby to 3-months old babies unlike common strain which infects from 6-months onwards. It differs genetically from the normal strain that causes 40% of the total 1 million deaths among children. The asymptomatic strain used for vaccine is a hybrid of two Rotavirus strains, one which infects cattles and the other which infects humans. It has 9 bovine and two human genes. This kind of assortment of genes has resulted into loss of virulence. Similar strain possessing 10 human and one bovine gene Is used for vaccine being developed at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. The vaccines are being developed under the Indo-US vaccine action programme (VAP).

Growing demand, shrinking base of vaccine manufactures in the developed countries, cost pressures, etc. have given India and other developing nations the opportunity to fill the gap. Indian firms are estimated to supply about 90 percent of the measles vaccine required by the world in the near future, US is one of the largest importers of measles vaccine from India. Serum Institute, Pune has developed the aerosol measles vaccine under a World Health Organization ( WHO) project for the Indian and overseas markets. Serum Institute, Pune is believed to be the world’s largest manufacturer of DPT vaccines. Successful development of indigenous and affordable hepatitis B vaccine has paved the way for India to become a major ‘centre of excellence’ by clinical trials of new vaccines, drug discovery and production of new medicines.


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