Thursday, 11 January 2018

Unlocking the true potential of Vaccines by Heat Stabilization


Contributing to the high child mortality rates, rotavirus causes 0.12 million child deaths in India every year1. In most of the developing countries rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea, which causes these untimely deaths2.

These numbers are startling even more because diarrhea is a preventable disease, and these deaths are a result of the lack of accessibility of vaccination required for the treatment for these diseases. This problem is most prevalent in India and other developing nations like Bangladesh and few African countries.

Hilleman Laboratories is a joint-venture between Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD) and Wellcome Trust. Their mission is to make the vaccines which are affordable and of high impact to the people of developing countries with an innovative technology like heat stable vaccine for Rotavirus.

Since its inception, Hilleman Laboratories is focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. It invests majority of its resources in the research and clinical assessment of vaccines against strains of diseases prevalent in the developing world bearing 90% of Global Burden of Disease.

Two-third of the children do not receive their vaccinations on time, this exposes children to this deadly disease3. Global organization like GAVI and PATH are working towards efforts of making Rotavirus vaccine more readily available in the developing countries. Hilleman Laboratories has also reinforced the Global efforts to address this problem. Hilleman Laboratories conducted the study in partnership with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh icddr,b. icddr,b works towards solving key public health problems, through innovative and scientific research, as stated in their mission. The results of the clinical trials were presented at the Vaccines for Enteric Disease Conference 2017, held in Albufeira, Portugal.

Sharing results of the study, Dr K. Zaman, Senior Scientist and Epidemiologist at icddr,b said, “Safety data have demonstrated that administration of HSRV, when compared with placebo, did not result in an increased reporting of solicited AEs in the adult cohort. In infants when administered as 3-dose primary series, HSRV had a safety profile similar to RotaTeq in terms of frequency, severity, and causality of solicited adverse effect. Immunogenicity assessment was found to be comparable between the HSRV and RotaTeq in infants. The percentage of infants exhibiting a 3-fold rise in serum anti-rotavirus IgA at 1-month post-dose 3 administration from baseline in HSRV group was 88%. The percentage of infants who had a similar increase in the RotaTeq group was 84%. In addition, HSRV elicited comparable Geometric Mean Titre relative to RotaTeq, 1 month after completion of 3-dose vaccination schedule. Based on the encouraging results obtained in this study, HSRV will be further evaluated in immunogenicity and safety studies in infants.

Hilleman Laboratories HSRV aims at simplifying the accessibility and affordability of the vaccine in the less fortunate countries, to help them in their battle against diarrhea.

Dr Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories also presented his views on the same as he said, “Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea and related deaths in children less than five years worldwide. First-generation Rotavirus vaccines possess thermostability profiles that may not need storage requirements in developing countries, highlighting need for heat stable vaccines. Considering the urgent need for effective and affordable Rotavirus vaccine, we would like to accelerate the development of our simplified, easy-to-use, heat-stable vaccine”.

The introduction of this heat-stable vaccine for Rotavirus will have a potential to change mortality, morbidity but increasing its access to geographies where it is most required.

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/07/11/13-children-die-of-diarrhoea-every-hour-in-india-health-ministr_a_21430279/
  2. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/90/10/12-101873/en/
  3. http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/23958-most-kids-in-india-lack-timely-vaccinations


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Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

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