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Serum Institute of India launches indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine, ‘PNEUMOSIL’

This WHO pre-qualified PCV is specially tailored to the prevailing serotype prevalence of S. pneumoniae in India and other regions of the world

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Serum Institute of India announced the launch of India’s first indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine – PNEUMOSIL; in the presence of Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare today. PNEUMOSIL has been developed through a collaboration spanning over a decade among Serum Institute of India, PATH and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This significant milestone is aimed at improving pneumococcal conjugate vaccine affordability and enabling sustainable access for low-and middle-income countries”, informed the company through a statement.

It also informed that PNEUMOSIL comes with the presence of stereotypes 6A and 19A. The composition of the WHO pre-qualified vaccine is specially tailored as per the prevalence of the Top 10 serotypes of S. pneumoniae in India and other regions of the world, a unique feature of this conjugate vaccine. The vaccine will provide effective and long-lasting protection for children against pneumococcal diseases.

Speaking about the launch, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare said, “It is a great moment of pride to witness Serum Institute take forward the ‘Make in India’ legacy, with the launch of India’s first indigenously developed Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. It is a significant milestone for the country’s public health care which will ensure that children are protected better against pneumococcal disease with an affordable and high-quality vaccine”.

Talking about the launch of Pneumosil, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India shared, “Over the years our constant endeavour has been to provide high-quality vaccines with regular supplies which ensures excellent immunisation coverage to children and families worldwide. With that thought, we have developed this PCV with a unique composition based on the serotype prevalence in India. This makes our PCV an ideal choice for protecting our children from pneumococcal disease. While the vaccine itself is of the highest quality and grade available, vaccine accessibility is of utmost importance as well, and to ensure ease of access by making it available at an affordable price. With the best PCV, we hope to bring down the mortality rate significantly while also making our country self-sufficient with a robust public health care system.”

Pneumococcal disease is a significant contributor to the under-five mortality rate worldwide. Annually, India witnesses an estimated 71 per cent of pneumonia deaths and 57 per cent of severe pneumonia cases. Every year nearly 67,800 children under 5 years of age die India from pneumococcal diseases in 2018, recognising its widespread fatality, WHO recommends the inclusion of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in routine childhood immunisation programs in all countries. Following this, Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccines (PCV) work directly to reduce the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia by preventing Streptococcus pneumonia.

The vaccine makes the Serum Institute of India the world’s third supplier of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) under the pneumococcal Advance Market Commitment (AMC), and the first developing country vaccine manufacturer to access the global PCV market.

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