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Fact-Check: Is India Going to Launch a 'Cancer Vaccine'?

A viral video shared with the claim shows the CEO of Serum Institute Adar Poonawalla launching the HPV vaccine.

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A video of the CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla, addressing the media while talking about a vaccine being created by his company is going viral with a claim that India will launch a "cancer vaccine".

The claim: The video was shared with the claim that read, "India is going to launch cancer vaccine in next few months, that too in a very affordable price range of Rs 200-400(sic)".

A viral video shared with the claim shows the CEO of Serum Institute Adar Poonawalla launching the HPV vaccine.

An archive of the post can be found here

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

(Archives of more such posts from Twitter and Facebook can be found here and here. We also received the claim as a query on our WhatsApp tipline.)

The truth: The claim is misleading as Poonawalla was talking about the launch of India's first home-grown human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

  • HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer – the second most common type of cancer globally.

  • While the vaccine may help prevent women from getting cervical cancer because of HPV, it will not cure any other type of cancer not caused due to HPV.

  • Additionally, the HPV vaccine/cervical cancer vaccine has existed in the world and was first recommended by the US CDC in 2006.

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How did we find that out:

  • The video along with the claim was published on the Facebook page called NewJ English.

  • We found the video, published on 2 September 2022, where Poonawalla was talking about SII's HPV Vaccine.

  • According to SII, its HPV vaccine is expected to give a coverage of approximately 90 percent against HPV that's prevalent in the developing world.

  • The vaccine was launched on Tuesday, 24 January and one can read more about SII's HPV vaccine here.

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What is an HPV Vaccine:

  • As mentioned earlier, HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer in India, which is the second most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.

  • HPV also causes other forms of cancers, such as cancers of the mouth and the oropharynx, which is the back part of your throat, anus and even the penis.

  • The HPV vaccine prevents HPV infections and, as a result, prevents cervical and other types of cancers caused by the virus.

  • Vaccines against HPV have existed around the world for over a decade.

Conclusion: The claim that India is developing a vaccine against cancer lacks context and could be misleading to people.

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(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Cancer   Vaccine   Webqoof 

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