Serum Institute Develops First Indigenous Vaccine Against Pn
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The first indigenous vaccine against pneumonia, developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), is slated to be launched by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and made available in the domestic market early next week. The vaccine will be much more affordable than the existing ones manufactured by two foreign companies.

India's drug regulator in July had granted market approval for the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine, after reviewing the phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trial data submitted by the Pune-based firm. This vaccine is used for active immunisation against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumonia in infants, the health ministry had said earlier.

As per UNICEF data, more than one lakh children under the age of five years die every year in India due to the pneumococcal disease. Since pneumonia is a respiratory ailment, vaccination of children with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) assumes utmost significance during the current COVID-19 pandemic, an official source said.

The country is currently dependent on imported PCV of foreign manufacturers at a very high price. The vaccine which is administered in an intramuscular manner was prequalified by the WHO in January. Earlier, the demand of such vaccine was substantially met by licensed importers in the country since the manufacturers were all vaccine companies based outside India, the health ministry said.

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