By Rishika Sadam
HYDERABAD (Reuters) - Vaccine manufacturer Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) expects to commercially launch its dengue fever vaccine by early 2026, a top executive said, as the race to develop the country's first such vaccine heats up.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, has over the last few years become a major public health concern in India, with 31,464 dengue cases and 36 related deaths reported between January and July 31, 2023.
While its spread had fallen during the pandemic, there was a 333% surge from 2020 to 2021 and a 21% rise in number of cases between 2021 and 2022, according to the National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control.
IIL's managing director, K.Anand Kumar, said the vaccine's early-stage trials conducted on about 90 individuals, aged 18-50 years, did not demonstrate any adverse effects.
"We're about to complete Phase 1 trials and will proceed to the next level. All of this will take at least two to three years. So, we are looking at January 2026 for the vaccine's commercial launch," Kumar said.
The early-stage trials are about determining the safety factor and efficacy to a small extent, Kumar said.
U.S.-based National Institute of Health (NIH) has provided IIL with the virus required for developing the vaccine, Kumar added.
Besides IIL, at least two other Indian companies - Serum Institute of India and Panacea Biotec - are working to develop a dengue vaccine.
Hyderabad-based IIL, which exports animal as well as human vaccines to more than 50 countries, said its mainstay is the manufacturing of rabies vaccines with its sales contributing about 35% of the total.
The company expects to clock in a total revenue of 13 billion rupees in 2023-2024.
(Reporting by Rishika Sadam; Editing by Sohini Goswami)