New method to improve immunisation coverage in India
Thermostability, an innovative technological intervention, can help achieve 95 percent coverage of expanded programme of immunisation in India and would merit 70-80 million doses annually, said Hilleman Laboratories, a joint-venture between Merck and Co. and Wellcome Trust.
The announcement has come when World immunization week is being observed April 24-30.
US-based Merck & Co is a research-driven pharmaceutical organisation and Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to human and animal health.
Thermo-stable properties enable vaccines to withstand tough temperature conditions of countries in Asia and Africa.
"The solution increases the efficiency of existing vaccines with heat stable, easy-to-use, affordable and novel packaging features," the company said in a statement.
One of the key constraints of enabling deeper vaccine penetration in India is due to limitations in distribution, public health delivery system and supply, stated a recent McKinsey report.
Distribution is hampered by an inadequate cold chain and constraint to last-mile distribution, which has limited penetration of basic vaccines to 60-70 percent.
"With a quarter of the current birth cohort left unimmunised in the country, India severely lags behind even when compared with lesser developed nations as well as its immediate neighbours," said Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories.
Of the world's 22.6 million unimmunised children, India is home to the largest chunk of 6.9 million, the statement noted.
Despite being the largest producer of vaccines in the world, around two million Indians died of vaccine preventable diseases in 2012.
(Posted on 30-04-2014)