In the ongoing battle against dengue fever, Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a prominent vaccine manufacturer, is setting its sights on launching a dengue vaccine for commercial use by January 2026. The urgency of this development is spurred by the rising concerns over dengue in India.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, has increasingly posed a significant public health threat in India. Between January and July 31, 2023, there were 31,464 reported cases of dengue, with 36 associated fatalities. Despite a temporary reduction during the pandemic, there was a staggering 333% surge in cases from 2020 to 2021, followed by a 21% increase in cases from 2021 to 2022, as reported by the National Center for Vector-Borne Diseases Control.
K. Anand Kumar, Managing Director of IIL, revealed that the initial trials of the dengue vaccine involved approximately 90 participants aged between 18 and 50 years. Encouragingly, these early-stage trials did not reveal any adverse effects.
"We're on the verge of completing Phase 1 trials and will be advancing to the subsequent stages. This process will take a minimum of two to three years. Consequently, we are targeting a commercial launch of the vaccine by January 2026," stated Kumar.
The primary objective of these early trials is to assess the vaccine's safety and determine its efficacy to a limited extent. Furthermore, IIL has obtained the necessary virus strain from the U.S.-based National Institute of Health (NIH) to facilitate the vaccine's development.
In addition to IIL, two other Indian companies, namely Serum Institute of India and Panacea Biotec, are actively engaged in the development of dengue vaccines.
Indian Immunologicals, headquartered in Hyderabad, is renowned for its export of animal and human vaccines to over 50 countries. Notably, rabies vaccines constitute a significant portion of their sales, contributing approximately 35% to their overall revenue.
The pursuit of a dengue vaccine by IIL and other Indian companies underscores the pressing need to address the dengue threat effectively. With ongoing research and trials, India is making determined efforts to combat this mosquito-borne menace and protect public health.
[Source: Reuters, August 24, 2023]