According to the World Health Organization, there were about 600,000 new cases of cervical cancer and 342,000 deaths in 2020. Approximately 90% of the new cases were in low and middle income countries. A recent Reuters article discussed a “game-changer” vaccine that aims to significantly reduce those numbers. A team of researchers at the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, developed the nation’s first cervical cancer vaccine. It has 90% efficacy, and is about 87% less expensive than other similar vaccines.
There are two types of human papillomavirus (16 and 18) that cause 70% of cervical cancers. The new vaccine works on both of these types, as well as 6 and 11. According to an SII executive, the new vaccine is expected to hit the market in just months, and cost between 200 and 400 rupees, which equates to $2.50-$5/ea. The vaccine stands to make India self-sufficient in combating the female mortality rate linked to cervical cancer by producing about 200 million doses in two years. It will consist of two doses for 9-14 year olds, and three doses for women between 15 and 26.