Companies

Bharat Bio to launch Japanese encephalitis vaccine by April

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on January 03, 2013

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In 2013, India will be better armed to combat Japanese encephalitis when a couple of vaccines developed by Indian companies and institutes will become available.

Bharat Biotech International, in collaboration with Pune’s National Institute of Virology, has developed a vaccine that is effective against the Indian strain causing Japanese encephalitis.

The protective vaccine will be launched around March-April, said Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of the Hyderabad-based vaccine-maker.

Panacea Biotech and a consortium led by the Indian Immunologicals are also developing vaccines to fight this illness.

Another Hyderabad-based company, Biological E, recently launched an ‘inactivated’ vaccine for the disease, under the brand name JEEV. The vaccine has been priced at Rs 985 a dose. A person has to take two doses. It has minimal side-effects and safer than the vaccine India imports from China, according to Mahima Datla, Senior Vice-President, Biological E.

Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease that affects the brain. According to estimates, India recorded more than 8,000 confirmed cases of Japanese encephalitis in 2011, with around a 1,000 deaths.

At present, there is no strong anti-viral therapy. The small quantities of vaccine imported from China are the only preventive measure.

Privately held Biological E plans to obtain prequalification approval from the World Health Organisation for the vaccine.

This will enable it to export it to global agencies. Biological E, since its inception in 1953, has supplied more than two billion doses of various vaccines. With support from technology partner Intercell AG of Austria, Biological E took seven years to develop JEEV. It is a second-generation, inactivated vaccine and does not contain any gelatine stabilisers or thiomersal. Its safety and efficacy have been established through multiple studies on Indian subjects.

The company has also obtained a licence from the Drug Controller General of India.

Intercell’s vaccine against the disease, which formed the basis for the technology transfer to Biological E, is licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration and regulators in several advanced countries.

Tourists from Europe and the US mostly use it when going to countries were the disease is endemic.

somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 03, 2013
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