Leprosy vaccine developed in India to be launched says Soumya S
CHENNAI: A first-of-its-kind leprosy vaccine developed in India is to be launched on a pilot basis in five districts in Bihar and Gujarat. If it shows good results, the vaccine programme will be extended to other high-prevalence districts in the country, said Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research.
Dr. Swaminathan further added, The disease, caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae , affects around 1.25 lakh people every year in India. Sixty per cent of the world’s leprosy patients live in India. The vaccine, called Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP), will be administered as a preventive measure to people living in close contact with those infected. It was developed by the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, and has been by approved by Drug Controller General of India and the FDA in the U.S., she said.
Dr. Swaminathan said trials had shown that the vaccine, if given to people in close contact with affected persons, could bring down cases by 60 per cent in three years. It expedited cure rates if given to people with skin lesions, she said.