Serum Institute of India (SII) is planning to launch the country’s first indigenous human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) by November this year. Reportedly, the decision comes after the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) recommended to the Union health ministry that HPV vaccination should be included under the National Immunisation Programme. According to reports, Cervical cancer is a cancer of the cervix or the lower-most part of the uterus, where the malignant tumour can be prevented by screening and an HPV vaccine.
The Union Health Ministry is planning to target girls in the 9-14 years age group for vaccination against cervical cancer. Currently, the vaccine is only available in private hospitals and costs up to ₹4,000 per dose. India reports 80,000-90,000 cases of cervical cancer every year, which is the highest across the globe.
SII expects to launch the HPV vaccine in November 2022, according to reports. Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancer in women after breast, lung, and colorectal cancer. Despite such high prevalence, there is very little awareness of the disease in India with many confusing it with cervical cancer of the neck area.