Thursday, 15 June 2017

Heat stable Rotavirus Vaccine: India Combats Diarrheal Deaths

Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus, usually spread through contaminated water and food. The disease causes uncontrollable diarrhea leading to severe dehydration which can even cause death. It is the most common cause of diarrheal disease in young children throughout the world. According to the estimations of World Health Organization, nearly 215,000 children aged less than 5 years die globally from vaccine preventable rotavirus infections. The maximum number of children affected reside in low-income countries where children are malnourished and lack access to proper medical care. However, In India, it is the leading cause of moderate to severe diarrhea accounting for 40% of cases which require treatment. The vast majority of children in the country are affected by diarrhea than as compared to AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.

According to the Union Health Ministry, rotavirus diarrhea is responsible for about 78,000 deaths, 3.2 million outpatient visits and nearly 0.9 million hospitalizations every year. Therefore, in 2014, the rotavirus vaccine was included in the Universal Immunization Programme in 4 states, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Odisha and then in February 2017, the vaccine was included in Assam, Tripura, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. Even though the government is striving for maximum coverage where no child should die from vaccine-preventable diseases, it faces difficulties such as reaching remote areas, untrained health workforce, equipment, logistics and sub-optimal cold chain management.

The available vaccine for rotavirus vaccine loses its potency when exposed to temperatures outside the specified range which lie between 2° to 8° Celsius.As emphasized in a peer-reviewed medical journal, outdated vaccine supply, and distribution systems not only delay, but also limit the impact that vaccines have in safeguarding people’s health. Thus, understanding the global disease burden of rotavirus has on childhood mortality, Hilleman Laboratories leverages its research functions to establish a proof of concept for the development of an optimized oral heat-stable vaccine that will impact the health of millions of children in developing nations.

Hilleman Laboratories is improvising the existing oral rotavirus vaccine which will be thermostable i.e. the vaccine will be functional over a wider range of temperature thereby reducing the dependability on storage & refrigeration. This kind of Research & Development is needed to make effective vaccines that have a high efficacy percentage available in resource-limited countries so that they can be more easily used to decrease the impact of vaccine-preventable diseases. Hilleman Laboratories is using innovative technology for simple novel packaging, making it affordable and the vaccine will be lyophilized for easier administration. If the vaccine proves to be safe and immunogenic the vaccine could be brought to India, as early as 2020, aiding in bridging the gap in vaccine delivery says Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories.
Read More

About Me

Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

Designed By D Yellow Elephant