India’s first indigenous pneumococcal vaccine launched

Serum Institute of India launches India’s first indigenous pneumococcal vaccine

The aim is to improve pneumococcal conjugate vaccine affordability and enable sustainable access for low and middle-income countries

Representative image. Credit: iStock.

The Pune-based world’s largest vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India, on Monday launched India’s first indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine – PNEUMOSIL.

The vaccine has been developed through a collaboration spanning over a decade among Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, PATH and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The aim is to improve pneumococcal conjugate vaccine affordability and enable sustainable access for low and middle-income countries.

The vaccine was launched at an online event in the presence of Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsha Vardhan.

“It is a significant milestone for the country’s public healthcare which will ensure that children are protected better against Pneumococcal disease with an affordable and high-quality vaccine,” Harsh Vardhan said from New Delhi.

Driven by the philanthropic commitment of the SII to protect every family with affordable vaccines, PNEUMOSIL comes with the advantage of the presence of serotypes 6A & 19A.

The composition of the WHO pre-qualified vaccine is specially tailored as per the prevalence of the Top 10 serotypes of S.pneumoniae in India and other regions of the world, which is the unique feature of this conjugate vaccine. The vaccine will provide effective and long-lasting protection for children against pneumococcal diseases.

With this, the SII further cements its position as the leader in the conjugate vaccines. It has several patents related to the manufacturing of this vaccine to its credit. The vaccine is relatively cost-efficient at high-volumes and more accessible over the long-term for the countries that need it most.

SII CEO Adar Poonawala said: "Over the years our constant endeavour has been to provide high-quality vaccines with regular supplies, which ensures excellent immunisation coverage to children and families worldwide."

“With that thought, we have developed this PCV with a unique composition based on the serotype prevalence in India. This makes our PCV an ideal choice for protecting our children from pneumococcal disease," he said.

"While the vaccine itself is of the highest quality and grade available, vaccine accessibility is of utmost importance as well, and to ensure ease of access by making it available at an affordable price,” Poonawala added. 

Pneumococcal disease is a significant contributor to the under-five mortality rate worldwide. Annually, India witnesses an estimated 71% of pneumonia deaths and 57% of severe pneumonia cases. Every year nearly 67,800 children under 5 years of age die in India from pneumococcal diseases.