India Creates World First Vaccine for Leprosy

Preventative treatment could bring down leprosy by 60%

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India has produced the world’s first vaccine for leprosy, headed by G.P. Talwar, the founder-director of the National Institute of Immunology. The first-of-its-kind vaccine, mycobacterium indicus pranii, is to undergo a pilot run across Bihar and Gujarat in the coming weeks. It is to be used as a preventative for those in contact to leprosy sufferers.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, told the National Awareness Convention on Leprosy organised in Chennai:

“It is the first vaccine for leprosy, and India will be the first to have a large-scale vaccination programme. Trials have shown that if the vaccine is given to people in close contact with the affected, cases can be brought down by 60% in three years. It expedites cure rate if given to people with skin lesions.”

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research affected 127,000 Indians from between 2013-2014. 60% of the world’s leprosy sufferers are in India. According to Dr. Swaminathan, the vaccine could reduce leprosy cases by 60%

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