Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine
- October 30, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Nationwide PCV drive launched
- Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya launched a nationwide expansion of Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) as a part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
- It was for the first time in the country that PCV would be available for universal use. Pneumonia was a leading cause of death among children under five, globally and in India.
- “Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus is the most common cause of severe pneumonia in children. Around 16% of deaths in children occur due to pneumonia in India.
About the vaccine –
- It prevents pneumococcal disease. It can protect both children and adults from pneumococcal disease.
- The vaccine is a mix of several bacteria of the pneumococci family, which are known to cause pneumonia—hence ‘conjugate’ is included in the name of the vaccine.
- Conjugate vaccines are made using a combination of two different components.
Pneumococcal disease –
- Pneumococcal disease is a name for any infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. Most people carry pneumococcus in their nose and throat, where the bacteria do not cause any symptoms.
- However, sometimes the bacteria grow and spread to other parts of the body and that’s when people become sick.
- These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. Pneumococcal bacteria are one of the most common causes of pneumonia.
- Besides pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can also cause:
- Ear infections.
- Sinus infections.
- Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord).
- Bacteremia (infection of the blood).
- Doctors consider some of these infections “invasive”. Invasive disease means that germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from germ.
- Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children under 2 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, adults 65 years or older, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.
- Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can result in long-term problems, such as brain damage or hearing loss. Meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia caused by pneumococcal disease can be fatal.
Universal Immunization Programme
- It was launched in 1985 to prevent mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Under UIP, free of cost vaccination is provided against twelve vaccine-preventable diseases i.e. Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea.
- The programme is one of the largest health programmes in the world. Despite being operational for many years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% of children under 1 year of age.
- A conjugate vaccine is a type of vaccine which combines a weak antigen with a strong antigen as a carrier so that the immune system has a stronger response to the weak antigen.
- Vaccines are used to prevent diseases by invoking an immune response to an antigen, the foreign part of a bacteria or virus that the immune system recognizes.
- This is usually accomplished with an attenuated or dead version of a pathogenic bacterium or virus in the vaccine, so that the immune system can recognize the antigen later in life.
- Many vaccines contain a single antigen that the body will recognize.
- However, the antigen of some pathogenic bacteria does not elicit a strong response from the immune system, so a vaccination against this weak antigen would not protect the person later in life. In this case, a conjugate vaccine is used in order to invoke an immune system response against the weak antigen. In a conjugate vaccine, the weak antigen is covalently attached to a strong antigen, thereby eliciting a stronger immunological response to the weak antigen. Most commonly, the weak antigen is a polysaccharide that is attached to strong protein antigen. However, protein and protein/protein conjugates have also been developed.