There has been an alarming rise in cases of cervix uteri cancer across India, which is the second most common cancer among women between the ages of 15 and 44, and the second leading cause of death.

To combat cervical cancer, the country has launched the Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) on September 1. The vaccine was launched at IIC Delhi by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Jitendra Singh.

As part of the DCGI approval process, the Serum Institute of India was granted market authorization to develop India’s own cervical cancer vaccine. It is the country’s first qHPV vaccine. As a result, this demonstrates that this type of cancer can be prevented.

Arora, Chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), described the launch of an indigenously-developed vaccine as an exhilarating experience. As well as expressing his joy about the vaccination against cervical cancer, he expressed his delight that the daughters and granddaughters of the country will be able to receive it.

What is Cervical Cancer?

India has the second highest rate of cervical cancer in the world. Typically, these cancers occur in the cells of the lower part of the uterus where the vagina connects. Known as the cervix, this lower end of the uterus is where the ovaries are located.

A sexually transmitted infection, the human papillomavirus (HPV) leads to cervical cancer. Most cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV. The body’s immune system typically fights off the virus when it is exposed to it and prevents it from causing harm. Some HPV strains survive for years, causing cancer cells to form.

Watch Out For the Symptoms

Cervical cancer typically shows no symptoms in its early stages, making it hard to detect. As the disease progresses, the following symptoms may appear:

  • 1. A foul-smelling bloody vaginal discharge
  • 2. Post-intercourse or post-menopausal vaginal bleeding
  • 3. A painful experience during sexual intercourse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer can affect any woman. Usually, cervix cancer develops after the age of 30. When cancer is detected early, it has a high chance of being treated successfully, surviving a long time, and having a good quality of life. It’s not always easy to detect the symptoms early.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 41,91,000 women have died from cervical cancer in India since 2019.

Since this is such a serious issue, a solution is imperative to stop the spread, and the made-in-India cervical cancer vaccine is excellent news.

A First-of-its-kind Cervical Cancer Vaccine Developed in India

In collaboration with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the Department of Biotechnology has developed the Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (qHPV), which protects against cervical cancer.

There has been a strong antibody response to the CERVAVAC vaccine. In all age groups and doses, the response to targeted HPV types is about 1,000 times higher than the baseline.

There is a benefit to the vaccine in that it will be made affordable to the general public. Currently, India relies completely on foreign manufacturers to supply HPV vaccines. The same drug costs around Rs. 4,000 per dose on the market. Cancers of the cervix, vulvar, and vaginal regions can be prevented by the vaccine.

Under the National Immunization Program, the health ministry is currently preparing to roll out the vaccine for girls aged 9-14. The vaccine will be rolled out over a six-month period.

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