The Pune-based Serum Institute of India Ltd, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and Meningococcal Vaccine Project, has developed a vaccine for meningococcal meningitis for the firs time in the country.
MVP is an international agency promoting research and development of preventive vaccines for this dreaded disease.
The disease is caused by a bacteria resulting in inflammation of the membranes covering brain and spinal cord. Since the disease is prevalent in most parts of the world, especially in Africa, the market is considered to be significantly large.
SIIL, which is the largest exporter of vaccines globally, is expected to cater to the international market, that too at a lower cost. MVP has already promised an order of about 25 million dozes per annum.
Serum Institute is the only Indian company approved by the WHO and MVP.
SIIL chairman Cyrus Poonawalla said the company is planning to launch a few more new vaccines, including those for meningococcal-A and haemophilus influenzae B. Clinical trials for these vaccines will commence in different countries, including India, shortly, he said.
Meningococcal meningitis is fatal in 10-15 per cent of cases. In New Delhi, about 15 persons had died due to this disease in May.Recently, Serum Institute had received the Sabin Corporate Philanthropy Award 2005, while its chairman Cyrus Poonawalla ha bagged the Sabin Humanitarian Award.