Powder measles vaccine may be mass produced in India

Powder measles vaccine may be mass produced in India

Made by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the dry powder measles vaccine will be administered through an easy-to-use inhaler. 

The powder is puffed into a small, cylindrical, plastic sack with an opening like the neck of a plastic water bottle.

“By taking one deep breath from the sack, a child could be effectively vaccinated,” team leader Robert Sievers said at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington on Sunday.

If the inhaler passes safety and efficacy tests, the vaccine— claims to be proven safe in animal studies—may go into human clinical trials.

If trials are satisfactory, Pune-based vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII) is likely to produce the world’s first dry powder measles vaccine.

“We have an official agreement on this project. This is an innovative way of providing the vaccine,” SII senior director Satish D Ravetkar told Deccan Herald.

According to government statistics, almost 2.5 crore Indian children received measles vaccine in the last three years. However, in 2008-09, about 1.6 crore kids received measles vaccine till December, 2008.

Measles, however, is not a big killer in India as it is vaccine preventable disease. The national death toll in 2006 and 2007 was 96 in each year which was followed by a sharp increase in death (190 deaths) in 2008.

To create an inhaler vaccine, the United States team developed a patented process known as the “Carbon Dioxide-Assisted Nebulisation with a Bubble Dryer,” or CAN-BD.

The process involves mixing the weakened measles virus with “supercritical” carbon dioxide — partly gas and partly liquid — to produce microscopic bubbles and droplets, which are dried to make the powder.

“Childhood vaccines that can be inhaled and delivered directly to mucosal surfaces have the potential to offer significant advantages over injection,” Sievers said.

Inhaler vaccine is currently available for only one disease. It is a wet mist vaccine for influenza with questionable efficiency.

But problem with that vaccine is wet mist required power or batteries to generate the aerosol and liquid vaccines had to be freshly made up and kept on ice. On the contrary, the new dispenser doesn’t require power, Sievers said.

Measles capsule

*Made by researchers at the   University of Colorado

*To be administered through an easy-to-use inhaler

*By taking one deep breath, a child could be effectively vaccinated

*If trials are satisfactory, Pune-based Serum Insititute of India to manufacture

*Inhaler vaccine is currently available for only one disease

DH News Service