News / Asia

India Develops Lowest-Cost Vaccine to Prevent Diarrhea

Indian mother fans her child with her sari as the child awaits treatment for diarrhea at a government-run children's hospital in Allahabad, India, June 25, 2009.
Indian mother fans her child with her sari as the child awaits treatment for diarrhea at a government-run children's hospital in Allahabad, India, June 25, 2009.
Anjana Pasricha
India says it has developed a low cost vaccine to prevent diarrhea - a disease that claims the lives of tens of thousands of infants and young children in developing countries. It is expected to be on the market by next year, and is being hailed as a significant breakthrough.
 
Health officials say that clinical test results indicate the new vaccine is safe and effective against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea in children under the age of five.   

Rotavirus is spread through contaminated hands and surfaces, and is common in poor communities across Asia and Africa. The severe dehydration that babies suffer due to a bout of diarrhea takes a toll of half a million children every year.

There are two vaccines in the market for rotavirus developed by multinational drug firms. But their high cost has kept them out of reach for many children across Asia and Africa.  

The vaccine developed in India will be just $1 per dose, making it affordable for both families and governments who want to make it part of their national immunization programs.   

Doctor M.K. Bhan, who helped develop the vaccine from a strain of the virus discovered in a hospital where he worked in New Delhi many years ago, said it cuts by more than half the risk of diarrhea for very young children. Bhan said it will be administered to infants when they are just a few weeks old.

“This is six, 10 and 14 weeks of age with other vaccines and three doses, so it will fit into our immunization program," he explained. "It gives protection for two years and almost 95 per cent of the rotavirus disease is over by two years of age. Part of the social contract is it will a dollar a dose vaccine for the entire world.”  

The vaccine will go to the regulator in about a month and could hit the market in less than a year in India. It will have to be approved by the World Health Organization before it can be distributed globally.

The development of the vaccine has been hailed by groups like the GAVI Alliance, which helps poor countries in vaccination programs. It says cheaper prices will make it possible to immunize more children, ease shortages and drive down the cost charged by other manufacturers. 

Dr. Bhan, who is a pediatrician, says prevention of diarrhea is important because children who get it are not just at risk of dying. Treating it is also traumatic.
Dr. Bhan explains it is not easy to administer oral rehydration syrup (ORS) to children in hospitals to prevent dehydration.      
 
“A nine-month old baby, who has some dehydration, if you have to administer ORS, even for me who is supposed to be an expert in this area, it is nightmarish," the doctor admitted.  "I used to get frightened administering ORS to a nine-month old baby who was sick. And for poor mothers negotiating hospitals in the middle of the night, it is a tough task. We need prevention, I am all for prevention. The poorer the country, more important prevention is.”  

The development of the vaccine is also being described as a path breaking example of an innovative collaboration between the Indian government, the private sector and groups such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Part of the investment in the vaccine’s development has been borne by Bharat Biotech, a private Indian drug company. While India’s drug industry is well known for making low cost generic drugs, it is often faulted for not paying enough attention to supporting research.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid