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Bharat Biotech Launches New Rotavirus Vaccine To Tackle Diarrhoea

Rotovac 5D will be affordable and potent even at higher temperatures

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


In order to effectively tackle the menace of diarrhea plaging developing economies including India, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International has commercially launched Rotavac 5D, an oral rotavirus vaccine at virtually one-tenth the cost when compared to private hospitals. 

Rotovac 5D has been developed with close coordination with the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

The roll-out of oral rotavirus vaccine, which is also the lowest dose-volume rotavirus vaccine in the world, will be costing around Rs 110 at the Government operated health centres. Whereas, in private hospitals, the same will be costing between Rs. 900 to Rs 1100. 

Globally, rotavirus causes approximately 200,000 deaths and about 2 million hospitalizations annually, mostly in low-income countries.

During the launch of first-generation ROTAVAC 5D, Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu emphasized on the urgent need of vaccination in the country. Acknowledging this public-private partnership, he said, “The government is trying to provide the best healthcare facilities especially vaccines but as a social responsibility, every medical professional should contribute in prevention of diseases to improve the health of the nation and its people.” 
Earlier, Bharat Biotech had originated ROTAVAC and now they have upgraded their already available oral vaccine to ROTAVAC 5D. 

Taking a step forward in their previous vaccine and competing with the fellow pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix, Merck’s RotaTeq and Serum Institute of India’s Rotasil, Bharat Biotech has launched this rotavirus vaccine by reducing the dosage from 2.5 to 0.5 ml.  
Along with the reduction in dosage, they have also made the oral vaccine low cold chain proof. This has resulted in making the vaccine stable at 2-degree to 8-degree Celsius for up to 24 months. 

Why did the company feel the need of making another vaccine that stable at a higher temperature? Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said, “It mainly depends on the available resources. Most of the vaccines are stored at refrigerator temperature i.e., between 2-degree to 8-degree Celsius. Keeping that in mind, all the new coming up vaccines are made refrigerator stable and we did the same. 

Currently, ROTAVAC 5D is being supplied in seven countries including India and 50 more countries have registered for it. The company will be producing 50 million single batch doses of vaccine in the form of single-dose, multi-dose vials and pre-filled syringes. They are also planning to reach private hospitals for supplying this vaccine in India.  

While talking about the manufacturing and supply of the ROTAVAC 5D, he further added, “Due to its efficacy and low cold chain footprint, we will be saving nearly Rs 20/ dose in supply chain and delivery cost. We also target to manufacture 200 million of annual dose.”  

After the launch in India, the company is waiting for the prequalification from WHO to supply in other parts of the world. Following which, they will be exporting the vaccine in various parts of Africa and Asia. 

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