HPV Vaccine : Cervical Cancer
Cervavac, a vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), has recently acquired market authorization from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI).
- It is India’s first Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (qHPV) designed to protect women from cervical cancer.
- Cervical cancer is a prevalent sexually transmitted infection.
- It’s a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
- It is mostly caused by long-term infection with particular forms of HPV.
- It is the second most prevalent cancer form and the second leading cause of cancer death in women of reproductive age (15-44).
- According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, India accounts for roughly one-fifth of the global burden, with 1.23 lakh cases and around 67,000 fatalities every year.
- This Vaccine is based on VLP (Virus-Like Particles), similar to the Hepatitis B vaccination, and gives protection by producing antibodies against the HPV virus’ L1 protein.
- It is said to be effective against four strains of the virus – Type 6, Type 11, Type 16 and Type 18.
- A quadrivalent vaccine is a vaccine that works by stimulating an immune response against four different antigens, such as four different viruses or other microorganisms.
- It has a significant potential to eliminate cervical cancer and it would be helpful if it will be included in national HPV vaccination efforts and offered at a lower cost than existing vaccinations.
- Existing Two vaccines licensed globally are available in India — a quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil, from Merck) and a bivalent vaccine (Cervarix, from GlaxoSmithKline) and are costly and none of them are included in the national immunization program.
- After the DGCI approval, it would enable the government to procure vaccines in bulk in order to vaccinate around 50 million girls aged between 9 to 14 years.
- The vaccine is extremely effective only when it’s administered before the first sexual intercourse.