Dow University’s new rabies vaccine is just a phone call away

12:18 PM, 28 Mar, 2024
Dow University’s new rabies vaccine is just a phone call away

KARACHI: In a major development in the health sector, the Dow University of Health Sciences has introduced "Dow Rab," an anti-rabies vaccine designed specifically for dog bite victims, making it available for those in need on a simple phone call.

Initially launched in Sindh province, the service is set to expand countrywide soon. Within 48 hours of receiving a call, the vaccine will be dispatched to the requested location.

Addressing the modest launch ceremony of "Dow Rab", Dow University Vice-Chancellor Prof Muhammad Saeed Quraishy said that an initial supply of 30,000 doses of the new vaccine has been distributed through the network. The complete course of the vaccine will be available for Rs1,500, he said.

These doses, manufactured at the Dow Institute of Life Sciences (DILS) located at the Ojha campus, are produced using imported raw materials from China. However, he expressed determination to transition to locally sourced raw materials, aiming to produce an additional 170,000 doses of the vaccine.

Those present at the ceremony included Chief Executive Officer of Dow Institute of Life Sciences (DILS) Syed Izhar Hussain, Dr. Talat Roomi, Director Marketing Tariq Shahid, Manager Commercial Dow Ahad Wasiq, Director Pharma M&P Mujeeb Ali Khan, Director Legal and Administration M&P Munaf Lakda, Director Finance Muhammad Tariq Khan, and others.

Prof Quraishy highlighted the university's efforts in conducting extensive research and regulatory procedures, culminating in the launch of commercial production of the vaccine at the Ojha campus.

Dow University had previously developed IVIG Immunoglobulin during the Covid-19 pandemic, which played a significant role in saving numerous lives.

In a separate event, Dow University and distribution network Muller & Phipps signed a Letter of Interest (LOI), with Muller & Phipps undertaking to ensure the widespread availability of ARV Dow Rab across Pakistan.

Each year, approximately a million people in Pakistan fall victim to stray dog bites, leading to an estimated 5,000-6,000 deaths due to rabies, as reported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad.

Pakistan's annual requirement for ARV exceeds 2 million doses, with the majority currently imported from India. However, ongoing conflicts over pricing have resulted in a severe shortage of ARV in the country.

Importers argue that the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar necessitates price increases for vaccines and other biological products. Local manufacturing is expected to stabilize prices and mitigate shortages in the future.