April 8: Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited on Friday announced development of a novel three-dose recombinant nano-particle based rabies G protein vaccine.

To be launched later this month, it is a three-dose vaccine administered in 50 microgram dose on day-0, 3 and 7 unlike the existing regimens that require five doses spread over 28 days.

The vaccine - ThRabis - is developed using Virus-Like Particle technology (VLP), and being priced at ₹715 per dose, and the entire treatment at around ₹2,100.

"ThRabis is a major breakthrough vaccine that can help in preventing many rabies related deaths. Unlike other approved rabies vaccines, ThRabis is a three-dose vaccine and is administered within a week. This ensures clinical effectiveness with just three doses in seven days, and will improve compliance to complete the vaccine course," said Suresh Gupta, President, Domestic Business, Cadila Pharmaceuticals.

The company held an awareness campaign in Ahmedabad, ‘Cadila Against Rabies’ attended by the key experts from the Association for the Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI) Founder President and Mentor MK Sudarshan, President DH Ashwath Narayana, Secretary General Sumit Poddar, and Treasurer HS Ravish, and other leading experts.

"With this three-dose innovative vaccine, many more lives will be saved - lives that continue to be lost to a preventable disease like Rabies. This vaccine can be a game-changer in our global flight to eliminate rabies through a simpler and more convenient regimen," said Rajiv Modi, CMD, Cadila Pharmaceuticals.

Animal bite victims

As per the company's estimates, globally rabies kills 59,000 animal bite victims every year, mainly in Asia and Africa.

Over 20,000 people die in India alone, mainly because the victims do not complete the full course of the available vaccine.

VLP technology

The VLP technology of vaccine development is self-assemble from recombinant G-protein produced from genes cloned into baculovirus expression vectors and expressed in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) insect cells.

The vaccine generates antibodies against rabies-G protein, leading to virus neutralisation, and prevents virus attachment to the cell to confer protection against rabies.

Cadila Pharmaceuticals had tested immunogenicity and safety of the three-doses of the novel vaccine in Phase-I/II and Phase-III clinical trials in healthy volunteers as well as preclinical models.

The safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine were established in the trials, company said in a statement.

ThRabis is an intramuscular vaccine and less painful for the recipients and also convenient for doctors as it does not require reconstitution prior to use.