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Bharat Bio to launch trial phase of diarrhoea vaccine

Our Bureau

The project is part of the Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme and is targeted towards development of a cost-effective vaccine for India and the developing countries.

HYDERABAD, April 15

BHARAT Biotech International (BBI), in collaboration with top research institutes from India and the US, is all set to launch the trial phase of a promising vaccine to combat diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus.

To be produced in India, the live, oral rotavirus vaccine will be subjected to clinical trials. It would take roughly 5-7 years to reach the market, according to Dr. Roger I. Glass, an internationally reputed virologist from the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While BBI is the commercial producer of the vaccine, the CDC, National Institute of Health (NIH) and Stanford University from the US and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore are the Indian partners, who have been instrumental in developing two candidate vaccines.

The project was part of the Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) and was targeted towards development of a cost-effective vaccine for India and the developing countries, Dr. Glass told newspersons here on Monday.

Rotaviral diarrhoea is a gastro-intestinal disease caused by the virus known as rotavirus. It usually afflicts infants and children in vulnerable populations. According to estimates, around 200,000 children and infants die annually in India because of the virus. The rotavirus is a `democratic virus' affecting all races, peoples and populations across different geographical locations. Nearly 40-50 per cent of the hospitalisation of kids in the US was due to the virus, said Dr. Glass.

At present, there is no vaccine available in the world. However, vaccines developed by E. Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are under clinical trials. Similarly, efforts were on from groups in China and Indonesia, he said.

Under VAP, it is also proposed to establish a surveillance network in India for rotavirus diarrhoea at hospitals in Delhi, Kolkata, Vellore and Pune to assess disease burden and understanding.

The Chairman and Managing Director of BBI, Dr. Krishna Ella, said production facilities that met the standards set by the US Federal Drug Authority were being set up at Turkapally village on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation was also financially supporting the project, he said.

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Bharat Bio to launch trial phase of diarrhoea vaccine


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