Thursday, 10 August 2006

New vaccine based on Virosome technology to prevent Hepatitis A


By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 10: A new vaccine based on the latest virosome technology for prevention of Hepatitis A will soon enter the Indian market.
According to Dr Christian Herzog, who developed the vaccine, the new technology that went into the preparation of the vaccine makes it quite gentle on the body without causing fever, pain or red rash. Virosome uses a biodegradable delivery system presenting the most natural way of delivering antigens to the immune system of the body.
Unlike conventional vaccines for Hepatitis A, which uses aluminium salt as an adjuvant to give extra kick to the vaccine, the virosome Hepatitis A vaccine employs the empty shell of influenza virus. No adjuvants are added to the vaccine and this makes it safer. The empty viral shell ensures that the vaccine embedded on it is delivered effectively without causing any side effects, said Dr Herzog.
According to Dr M Indra Shekar Rao, professor and head of the department of paediatrics, Institute of Child Health, Niloufer Hospital, the Hepatitis A virus is quite active during rainy seasons and it spreads fast in comparison to other viruses. The virus easily spreads in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where personal hygiene is not observed.
"Of the 50 cases of jaundice reported in Niloufer Hospital every day, one case relates to Hepatitis A. The latest problem is that it is being observed in older age group of people between 15 and 20 years. Earlier it was felt only in small children," Dr Indra Shekar pointed out.
Dr S Sanjay of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics' committee on immunisation, said though Hepatitis A was not as problematic as Hepatitis B, it's better one should get immunised for the A variant of the virus if one could afford it.

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