India has introduced its first indigenously developed quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
The vaccine was reportedly developed by the world’s biggest vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India (SII) in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020.
WHO added that about 90 per cent of the new cases and deaths worldwide occurred in low- and middle-income countries that year.
“The indigenously developed vaccine will make our country self-sufficient in curbing female mortality caused by cervical cancer,” SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said in a statement.
He told reporters the vaccine would be out for sale in a few months, first for the Indian market and then the world, Reuters reports.
Mr Poonawalla also noted that the vaccine would be administered via injection in two doses among 9-14-year-olds and three doses for those between 15 and 26.
Similarly, according to a recent study, China recently produced its first self-developed HPV vaccine, Cecolin, which has proven to be 100 per cent efficient in offering female adults full immunity.
A group of Chinese researchers who analysed the data from 66-month follow-up visits as part of the bivalent vaccine’s clinical trial found that its efficacy against high-grade genital lesions, typical symptoms of cervical cancer, reached 100 per cent.
Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the part of a woman’s body that connects the uterus or womb and vagina). Cervical cancer is characterised by uncontrollable cell growth in this region of the body.
“All women are susceptible to developing cervical cancer. However, this is more so for women in third world countries like Nigeria,” said Stephen Ohize, a medical doctor and public health expert.
According to Cancer Research UK, the main symptom of cervical cancer is unusual bleeding (between periods, during or after sex and after menopause) from the vagina. Other symptoms include vaginal discharge or pain in the pelvis (hipbone). Once one identifies these symptoms or indeed general sickness, screenings are the next widely-recommended course of action.
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