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Daily News Analysis

Pneumosil, India’s first indigenously created vaccine against pneumococcal disease

29th December, 2020 Health

Context: Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) unveiled India’s first indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine.

  • The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by doses, SII is also the maker of Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine.
  • SII’s pneumococcal vaccine, Pneumosil, was developed through a collaboration spanning over a decade with the health organisation PATH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • It is a significant milestone for the country’s public healthcare which will ensure that children are protected better against pneumococcal disease with an effective vaccine.
  • The vaccine targets the pneumococcal bacterium, which causes pneumonia and other serious life-threatening diseases such as meningitis and sepsis, and is estimated to cause nearly four lakh deaths in children under five years of age each year worldwide.
  • Pneumococcal disease is a significant contributor under-five mortality rate worldwide.
  • World Health Organization in 2018 recommended the inclusion of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in routine childhood immunisation programmes in all countries.
  • Pneumosil has been extensively evaluated in five randomised controlled clinical trials and has demonstrated comparable safety and immunogenicity against licensed pneumococcal vaccines across diverse populations of India and Africa, where Pneumosil was administered to adults, toddlers and infants using different vaccination schedules.
  • Based on the trials, Pneumosil was licensed by the Drugs Controller General (India) in July 2020.
  • The vaccine also makes SII the world’s third supplier of PCVs under the pneumococcal Advance Market Commitment, and the first developing country vaccine manufacturer to access the global PCV market.