NDDB's arm Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) today announced the launch of Cysvax vaccine to fight against tapeworms in pigs and this may also help reduce incidence of epilepsy in human beings.
Indian Immunologicals Ltd was set up by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1982, as its unit, with the objective of making Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine available to farmers at an affordable price.
"IIL has developed a recombinant porcine (pigs) cysticercosis vaccine - Cysvax for use in pigs which also has the potential to significantly reduce the incidence of epilepsy in humans," the company said in a statement.
Vaccination of pigs can break the tapeworm parasite's life-cycle and enable in removing the source of infection for humans, it added.
IIL claimed that Cysvax is the world's first vaccine to fight against Tapeworms in pigs.
Commenting on the development, Indian Immunologicals Ltd Managing Director K Anand Kumar said: "In line with WHO's 'One Health' (Health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interconnected) Cysvax will significantly reduce the incidence of epilepsy in the developing world."
IIL collaborated with Dr Marshall Lightowlers, University of Melbourne, Australia and GALVmed (Global Alliance for Veterinary medicine) to develop this vaccine, the company said.
It obtained license the to manufacture and market this product after conducting extensive field trials in India and many other countries such as Spain, Peru etc, it added.
WHO has designated cysticercosis as one of the 17 "neglected tropical diseases" worldwide. The life cycle of a tapeworm is dependent on the link between humans and pigs.
Any interruption in this link can result in the elimination of the parasite. Vaccination of pigs can break the parasite's life-cycle and enable in removing the source of infection for humans, the city-based IIL said.
Open defecation and unhygienic pig rearing are the primary breeding grounds for tapeworms. Cases of cysticercosis have been found to occur across India, particularly in north Uttar Pradesh and Northeast states.
Prevalence of porcine cysticercosis, as reported from slaughterhouse data, ranges from 7 per cent to 12 per cent in all pigs, according to the company, one of the largest animal and human health players in India.