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Indian Government Announces Development Of Less-Expensive Rotavirus Vaccine

“The Indian government announced Tuesday the development of a new low-cost vaccine proven effective against a diarrhea-causing virus that is one of the leading causes of childhood deaths across the developing world,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. “The Indian manufacturer of the new rotavirus vaccine pledged to sell it for $1 a dose, a significant discount from the cost of the current vaccines on the market,” the news agency writes (Nessman, 5/14). “While international pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Merck produce similar vaccines, each dose costs around 1,000 rupees ($18), said Sushmita Malaviya of PATH, an international health care organization,” Agence France-Presse notes, adding, “Rotavirus causes up to 884,000 hospitalizations in India a year, at a cost to the country of 3.4 billion rupees ($72 million), and kills around 100,000 small children annually in the country, the government says” (5/14). “The vaccine, named Rotavac, will be manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech pharmaceutical firm, which has said it has the capacity to mass produce 60 million doses after clearance is given,” the News International reports, noting, “Each vaccination consists of three doses” (5/14).