Inhalable measles vaccine soon in India
New Delhi: A single deep breath will soon be
enough to vaccinate children against measles as human trials
of an inhalable vaccine for the deadly disease are expected to
begin early next year in India.
Serum Institute of India will be conducting the trials of
the new vaccine in the country.
"The phase-I trials are expected to begin by the first
quarter of next year once the animal testing, currently
under process, is completed," Prasad Kulkarni, Additional
Medical Director, Serum Institute of India said.
The vaccine is expected to hit the market in 2.5-3 years
after the trials begin, Kulkarni added.
The US scientists, who have developed the dry powder
vaccine against measles, say the inhalable vaccine will reduce
the risks of needle infections like HIV and hepatitis and
greatly benefit developing countries.
"The dry powder vaccine deposits in the respiratory tract
and dissolves rapidly in the moisture naturally present, so no
water-for-injection is needed," Robert Sievers, who led the
team which developed the vaccine, said in an email interview.
"The vaccine may not only reduce the risk of infection
from unsterilised needles, but may also prove more effective
against the disease," the senior scientist in the University
of Colorado said.
"Dry powder vaccines generally are more stable than
liquid vaccines. When water is added to make an injectable
vaccine the unused liquid vaccine must be discarded the same
day for safety reasons," Sievers said.
Researchers expect the new vaccine to be more effective
as the drug delivery route mimics the natural route of measles
infection, Kulkarni said.
To create an inhalable vaccine, Sievers and his team
developed a patented process called the `Carbon
Dioxide-Assisted Nebulization with a Bubble Dryer (CAN-BD)`.
In the process the weakened measles virus is mixed with
`supercritical` carbon dioxide -— part gas, part liquid -— to
produce microscopic bubbles and droplets, which are then dried
to make an inhalable powder.
The powder is then puffed into a small, cylindrical,
plastic sack, with an opening like the neck of a plastic water
bottle, and administered.
"By taking one deep breath from the sack, a child could
be effectively vaccinated," Sievers said.
India has been chosen for the trials because according to
WHO estimates there are still more measles-related deaths in
India than any other country, he said.
Measles and related complications account for over two
lakh deaths every year in India and nearly 10 percent of
pre-school mortality is caused by the deadly disease.