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Cadila launches new anti-leprosy vaccinenews
07 July 1999

Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd, the Rs 250-crore Ahmedabad-based company, has launched a new intradermal vaccine for the treatment of Leprosy under the brand name Leprovac. The vaccine is priced at Rs 50 for a four-dose regimen.

Developed by the National Institute of Immunology and aided by the department of biotechnology, Leprovac has to be administered in eight doses with a starting dose of 0.2 ml followed by seven maintenance doses of 0.1 ml each. The doses are to be administered at three-month intervals.

But, unlike other vaccines used for disease prevention, Leprovac is to be administered in conjunction with multi-drug therapy, or MDT, for better efficacy. According to a company release, the advantages of administering Leprovac with MDT are that the immunomodulating effect of Leprovac stimulated the immune system to kill the leprosy mycobacterium and subsequently also confers the ability to clear the dead bacteria more efficiently.

The mycobacterium used in the vaccine is reported to have no side effects due to its immunomodulating properties. This was established after phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials, the release says. The vaccine acts by reactivating the immune system that has become inactive against the leprosy-causing bacteria Mycobacterium leprae.

The World Health Organisation estimates 1.6 million cases of leprosy in more that 80 countries. Between 1995-98, an estimated 5 lakh new cases were detected. India, Indonesia and Myanmar account for 70 per cent of the leprosy-affected population worldwide, while the rest is spread between Africa and Latin America, with Brazil accounting for a significant number.

Cadila plans to ensure that Leprovac is available
at a cost-effective price to support the leprosy  mission and other non-government organisations for disease eradication. The drug will be initially marketed only in India. The company has plans to go global in the near future.


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Cadila launches new anti-leprosy vaccine