New Delhi: India today unveiled its indigenously developed and manufactured Rotavirus vaccine, claimed to be the world's cheapest at the rate of around Rs 60 per dose and aimed at boosting efforts to deal with diarrhoea that kills upto 80,000 children under 5 every year.
'Rotavac', launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the third such vaccine available globally against Rotavirus.
The Bharat Biotech India Limited, which was involved in the development and production of the vaccine, has given an undertaking to keep the cost of the vaccine at USD 1 (approx Rs 60) per dose, a PMO statement said, adding at the current prices, it will be the cheapest.
The successful launch was the result of an extraordinary effort spread over the last 25 years, it said.
Each year, diarrhoea caused by rotavirus results up to 10 lakh hospitalizations and kills nearly 80,000 children under the age of 5 years.
Modi hoped that the development of the rotavirus vaccine would inspire higher levels of research, development and manufacturing activities in India, not just in medical science, but also in other advanced areas of science and technology.
He felt that solutions found in India would have great relevance to the rest of the world, especially the developing world.
Modi felicitated all the partners in the development of the first indigenous rotavirus vaccine, which involved the complete cycle from basic research to product development of this advanced vaccine in India, a PMO statement said.
He lauded this initiative as an example of India's capabilities for high-end research and development; manufacture of sophisticated pharmaceutical products in India; and, effective Public-Private-Partnership model for finding affordable solutions to societal challenges.
He highlighted the vaccine as a successful example of collaboration between India and the United States in the area of medical research, for the benefit of ordinary citizens.
The vaccine has been developed under an innovative public-private partnership model. It involved partnership between the Ministry of Science and Technology, institutions of the US Government, various government institutions and NGOs in India, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the PMO statement said.
Funding by the Government of India supported basic research in educational and scientific institutions in India. This was also supplemented by the support of US Government institutions like the National Institute of Health.
The Gates Foundation and Bharat Biotech India Limited contributed towards product development and testing.
Bharat Biotech India Limited that was involved in the development and production of the vaccine was selected in 1997-1998 by the India-US Vaccine Action Programme and the standard government procedures.