Our vaccines are globally competitive, says S&T Minister

The Union Science and Technology Minister, Mr S Jaipal Reddy has expressed happiness on the affordable cost of the new indigenous rotavirus vaccine that is priced at $1 per dose against the $45 per dose for available vaccines developed by pharma MNCs

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Happy hours: Mr Jaipal Reddy, Science and Technology Minister hopeful of early introduction of rotavirus vaccine under the national immunization program

"I have been informed that every year about eight million children in the world never make it to their fifth birthday-they are struck down by diseases that we have the means to prevent. Vaccines help prevent killer diseases and are the most cost effective public health products," said Mr Jaipal Reddy, Science and Technology Minister, while addressing the scientists from across in New Delhi on May 14, 2013.

Highlighting the strengths of Indian vaccine industry, Reddy mentioned that India is globally competitive and several Indian manufacturers are WHO qualified. "We also produce 60 percent of the worlds vaccine and account for about 70 percent of the annual United Nations vaccine purchases. The current Indian vaccine market is estimated at around $900 million. It targets $4.6 billion revenue by 2017 and poised to grow at 23 percent during 2012-13," the Minister predicted further.

Mr Reddy congratulated the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) and National Institute of Health (NIH) for the successful development of rotavirus vaccine in India. "It gives me great pleasure to be here meeting all of you for this landmark. This has been achieved by close cooperation of Department of Biotechnology, PATH, BBIL and NIH. I have been informed that this project was implemented under Indo-Us Vaccine Action Program, a bilateral program initiated under the Gandhi-Reagan Science and Technology Agreement. I congratulate all the collaborators for this wonderful achievement," the Minister added.

"This is an important scientific breakthrough against rotavirus infection, one of the most severe and lethal infections which is responsible for 100,000 deaths of small children in India every year. The clinical results indicate that the vaccine could potentially save thousands of children every year in our country," stated Mr Reddy who also hoped for the successful introduction of this vaccine under the National Immunization Program of Government of India.

"I consider this a true model of successful global partnership between India and USA; involvement of international funding agencies like PATH; scientific experts and appropriate industrial partner; and inter-ministerial involvement with active participation of ICMR, Ministry of Health and Family welfare. I am happy to know that ROTAVAC which is developed under this endeavour will be produced on an affordable cost of $1 per dose against the currently available vaccines developed by pharma MNCs which cost $45 per dose," mentioned Mr Reddy further.

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