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Prime Minister launches Vaccine for Rotavirus – Rotavac

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the vaccine called Rotavac, the first indigenously developed and manufactured Rotavirus vaccine. The vaccine is developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). It will be available for sale from next week in India.

The vaccine development process has taken 15 years and around 300 scientists have worked very hard for the successful completion of the project. Foreign companies currently sell Rotavirus vaccines in India at Rs.1,100 per dose. Bharat Biotech has proposed to sell Rotavac for just Rs.63 per dose to the GOI and other low income countries. The company has filed four global patents around the technology of Rotavac in more than 20 countries.

In India, every year, diarrhea caused by rotavirus causes up to 10 lakh hospitalizations and kills around one lakh children under the age of 5 years. Globally this virus causes 4.5 lakhs deaths per year.

Knowledge is Wealth

  • The virus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route and it causes severe diarrhea. 
  • Rotavirus was discovered by Ruth Bishop in 1973. 
  • There are five species of the virus; referred as Rotavirus A, B, C, D, and E
  • India accounts for 22 per cent of the estimated global deaths from diarrhoea-causing rotavirus.
  • The Government of India’s Universal Immunization Program previously covered Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, and Measles. In 2014  rotavirus, rubella and polio (injectable), and Japanese Encephalitis were added in the program.