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Indigenous Vaccine Pneumosil

  • 29 Dec 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, India’s first fully indigenously developed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine “Pneumosil” has been launched.

Key Points

  • Developed by: Serum Institute of India (SII), through a collaboration with PATH and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    • Serum Institute of India is a Pune based world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally.
    • PATH is an international, nonprofit global health organization based in Seattle (USA).
    • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is an American private foundation, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. Based in Seattle, Washington, the primary goals of the foundation are to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty across the globe, and to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in the USA.
  • Information about the 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.
    • It will be available in the market at an affordable price in single dose and multidose presentations.
      • While pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) have helped reduce pneumococcal deaths, they are difficult for many countries to afford.
    • The unique feature of the vaccine is its composition, which is specially tailored to the prevailing serotype prevalence of S Pneumoniae in India and other regions of the world.
      • A serotype or serovar is a distinct variation within a species of bacteria or virus or among immune cells of different individuals.
    • It was licensed by the Drugs Controller General (India) in July 2020.
  • Significance:
    • It is an example of India's capability in Research & Development & manufacturing high end sophisticated Vaccines.
      • Till now, India was fully dependent on Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) manufactured by Foreign Manufacturers which are available at very high prices.
    • The vaccine also makes SII the first developing country vaccine manufacturer to access the global PCV market.
      • SII is also the maker of Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine.

Pneumococcal Disease

  • About the Disease:
    • Pneumococcal disease is a name for any infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus.
      • The bacteria is the most common cause of bloodstream infections, pneumonia, meningitis, and middle ear infections in young children.
      • Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Many different bacteria, viruses, and even fungi can cause pneumonia. Pneumococcus is one of the most common causes of severe pneumonia.
    • Doctors consider some of these infections “invasive”.
      • Invasive disease means that germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs.
      • For example, pneumococcal bacteria can invade the bloodstream, causing bacteremia, and the tissues and fluids covering the brain and spinal cord, causing meningitis. When this happens, disease is usually very severe, requiring treatment in a hospital and even causing death in some cases.
  • Disease Burden:
    • Annually India witnesses an estimated 71% of pneumonia deaths and 57% of severe pneumonia cases.
    • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), pneumonia accounts for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years.
  • Prevention:
    • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) prevents pneumococcal disease.
      • The vaccine is a mix of several bacteria of the pneumococci family, which are known to cause pneumonia, hence ‘conjugate’ is included in the name of the vaccine.
      • Conjugate vaccines are made using a combination of two different components.
    • The Indian government has been ensuring PCV under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) to fight pneumococcal disease.


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