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Production of HPV vaccine to start in 2023: Adar Poonawala

The Serum Institute of India will start the production of India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) “CERVAVAC” vaccine, for the prevention of cervical cancer in the first quarter of 2023. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of vaccines got delayed. “The capacity got delayed by one year because we are using a […]

The Serum Institute of India will start the production of India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) “CERVAVAC” vaccine, for the prevention of cervical cancer in the first quarter of 2023.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of vaccines got delayed. “The capacity got delayed by one year because we are using a new building for this. We use the original HPV vaccine building for Covovax. So, we have to, at that time, had no choice during the pandemic and you know, there are many vaccines like dengue and so many other developments that were deferred by two years for this,” Poonawala said.

Meanwhile, on the exportation of HPV vaccines to other countries Poonawala said, “We have already submitted the files and once that is done, we can then export in 2024 to UNICEF, Gavi, and the African countries also because there was a shortage of HPV vaccine for the last few years.”

Talking about getting the license Poonawala said, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has already given a license.

We will scale up beyond that to reach about 150 million doses or so because eventually I think the Indian immunization program will also take a substantial amount and that will also take time to scale up. So, we are matching our scale-up with the demand to satisfy India and its requirements. We are just one year later than what I would have wanted to be in terms of our capacity. We are already licensed by the DCGI,” Poonawala said.

Moreover, one or 2 million doses will be produced per month and will be supplied to the government.

“We will be making a very small quantity and launching it in the Indian government program in the first quarter of next year and followed by having a capacity of 70 million doses which can go up to 150 to 200 million doses the year after that, so to be clear, in 2023, will have a capacity of maybe around 20 million doses. So that’s about one or 2 million doses per month that will be supplied to the government followed by which we will get it who requalification hopefully with all the data that will present,” said Adar Poonawala said.

At an affordable price, the HPV vaccine will be available. Poonawala said, “We will announce the price in a few months, it’ll be approx Rs 200-400. We will finalize after manufacturing and discussion with the Government of India.”

On the occasion, Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh was present as a Chief guest.

“India has come out with the first indigenously developed vaccine for cervical cancer, prevalent among women of the younger age group. Thanks to PM we can now afford to look for preventive healthcare. This vaccine will be affordable,” Singh said.

However, with the partnership of DBT and BIRAC with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is also supported by Serum Institute of India Private Limited.

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Adar PoonawalaCERVAVACDCGIHPV vaccineSerum Institute