By Asmau Ahmad
India’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, on Thursday announced the launch of the country’s first indigenously developed vaccine “Cervavac” for the prevention of cervical cancer.
The vaccine has been jointly developed by the Serum Institute of India, located in Pune city in the southwestern state of Maharashtra, and the Department of Biotechnology under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
Launching the vaccine, the minister said that cervical cancer ranked as the second most prevalent cancer in India, and accounted for nearly one-fourth of the world’s cervical cancer deaths despite being largely preventable.
He said current estimates indicated that every approximately 125,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and over 75,000 died from the disease in India, and 83 per cent of invasive cervical cancers were attributed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 16 or 18 in India.
The minister said that the most promising intervention for preventing cervical cancer was vaccination against the HPV.
“It is estimated that HPV types 16 and 18 (HPV-16 and HPV-18) together contribute to approximately 70 per cent of all invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide,” he added.