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Chiron Behring re-launches its rabies vaccine as ‘Chirorab’

Chiron Behring Vaccines was acquired by Bharat Biotech from GSK in March 2019 and commercial operations were restarted in May 2019

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Chiron Behring Vaccines recently announced the re-launch of the well-established and trusted purified chick embryo cell (PCEC) vaccine manufactured at its WHO pre-qualified facility in Ankleshwar, Gujarat as Chirorab.

Earlier marketed under the trade name Rabipur, this vaccine is currently manufactured using the same technology at the same site. It is an inactivated vaccine used for active pre and post exposure immunisation against rabies.

Chiron Behring Vaccines was acquired by Bharat Biotech from GSK in March 2019 and commercial operations were restarted in May 2019.

Dedicating the vaccine to India and presenting to the world, Dr Krishna Ella said, “I am proud to introduce Chirorab to the world! We were highly committed in expediting the manufacturing and commercialisation of Chirorab whilst maintaining the highest standards of quality to meet the urgent global requirement.”

Chirorab supplies will be made available to government hospitals in various states through tenders, with the remaining available for the private markets and exports.

Dr Ella further added, “In our ongoing commitment to address the supply shortages of rabies vaccines, we are making additional investments to increase production capacity to over 15 million doses annually.”

Dr Charles Ruprecht, retired chief of the rabies programme at CDC, Atlanta, USA and world renowned authority on rabies, said, “As reflective in the mythological figure renowned in wisdom and medicine, renewed local production of the human rabies vaccine, Chirorab should be a major opportunity for the achievement towards the ‘Zero By Thirty’ goal for human rabies prevention on the Indian sub-continent and the region as a whole.”

The immunogenicity, efficacy and safety of Chirorab has been assessed in several clinical trials in pre- and post-exposure regimens, using both intramuscular and intradermal routes of administration.

Chirorab has been evaluated in over 25 controlled clinical trials in five countries in more than 7,000 subjects. During the past 30 years, more than 80 million doses of this vaccine has been distributed worldwide with safety and efficacy profile.

According to a WHO report, rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease that claims over 59,000 lives each year, mostly in Asia and Africa. Recent studies estimate that India witnesses 17.4 million animal bites annually with 20,800 rabies deaths, being the highest in the world.

India, which has a large stray dog population, reportedly needs 35 million doses of the anti-rabies vaccine per annum.

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