The journey of Rotavac

Rotavac, the rotavirus vaccine set to hit the market by mid 2014, originated from an attenuated (weakened) strain 116E of rotavirus that was isolated from an Indian child at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. A look at its history


Unveiling of Rotavac: Dr M K Bhan, Dr K VijayRaghavan and Dr Krishna Ella

With his tireless stint in fostering this partnership and ensuring the highest standards for the vaccine all these years, Dr M K Bhan, former secretary, department of biotechnology (DBT) was highly elated when the official announcement regarding trial results of Rotavac vaccine was made by the DBT and Bharat Biotech, on May 14, 2013 at New Delhi.

His belief, what Dr Bhan points out, in the system of the country, kept the efforts multiplying and project expanding. "We must have full faith in our ability to do science and ignore unnecessary criticism. I believe in system and not advocacy," he said while humbly appreciating the international and national partners for their efforts. "Having dealt with poor children my all my life, I have seen how severe is the hospital management and therefore I am happy to see that we would emerge as suppliers of these affordable vaccines for underprivileged."

26 years of striving: A glance at the progress

1985-86: Dr M K Bhan discovers strain, 116E during his routine testing at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He partners with Dr Roger Glass, a diarrhoeal expert working then at the CDC's rotavirus laboratory. Around the same time, Dr Durga Dass discovers another strain, l321 at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He collaborates with Dr Harry Green berg of Stanford University for further research.

1987: Both the naturally occuring, weakened strains studied by the two independent research teams working parallely under the Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme, bilateral program implemented since 1987 by DBT and NIH.


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