Global pharma major Wyeth Tuesday launched its blockbuster vaccine Prevenar in India to help prevent invasive pneumococcal disease among infants and toddlers.
Pneumococcal disease is a group of illnesses caused by streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as the "pneumococcus" bacteria.
Prevenar is a seven-valent vaccine that is expected to prevent pneumococcal diseases like sepsis, meningitis, bacterial pneumonia, septicaemia and bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood).
Infants and children are at the greatest risk for invasive pneumococcal disease as 25-60 percent of them are carriers of pneumococci in their throats. The risks of meningitis and bacteremia are greatest during the first two years of a child.
"It's been a long journey but we are delighted to announce that Prevenar is now in India to protect children from invasive pneumococcal disease responsible for many cases of childhood mortality and morbidity," Ranga Iyer, managing director of Wyeth, said in a statement.
Prevenar is used worldwide and is now part of the regular immunisation schedule in many countries. Available in 75 countries, since the licensure of Prevenar in 2000, 30-40 million children have been protected against the disease.
Priced at around Rs.3,300 per vial in India at par with global prices, Prevenar is administered in three doses to children below two years at the sixth, 10th and 14th weeks after birth and a booster dose at 12 to 15 months.