Dow University of Health Sciences Pioneers Anti-Rabies Vaccine in Pakistan

In a significant stride towards combating the rabies crisis in Pakistan, the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) has developed a locally manufactured anti-rabies vaccine (ARV) named “Dow Rab”. This innovative solution is a beacon of hope for victims of dog bites, a prevalent issue in the country.

The “Dow Rab” vaccine is a result of rigorous research and regulatory steps undertaken by Dow University over the years. The vaccine was inaugurated by DUHS Vice-Chancellor Professor Muhammad Saeed Quraishy in a simple yet momentous ceremony. The event marked the beginning of a new era in Pakistan’s fight against rabies, a disease that claims an estimated 5,000-6,000 lives in the country annually.

The development of “Dow Rab” is particularly significant given the current rabies situation in Pakistan. Each year, approximately a million people fall victim to stray dog bites in the country. The National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad reports that Pakistan requires over 2 million doses of ARV annually, and a majority of these are imported from India. At present, Pakistan is grappling with a severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccines due to pricing conflicts.

The “Dow Rab” vaccine, initially introduced in the Sindh province, will soon be available across the country. The vaccine can be delivered to the desired location within 48 hours of a phone call, making it readily accessible to victims. This initiative not only addresses the immediate need for a reliable source of ARV but also promises to stabilize prices affected by the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar.

The vaccine is currently produced from imported raw materials, primarily from China. However, Professor Quraishy expressed his determination that soon it will be made in Pakistan from locally obtained raw materials. This shift towards local production is expected to further enhance the availability and affordability of the vaccine.

The launch of “Dow Rab” is not the first time Dow University has made headlines for its contributions to public health. The university had previously developed IVIG Immunoglobulin during the coronavirus epidemic, which played a crucial role in saving hundreds of lives.

The distribution of “Dow Rab” across Pakistan will be ensured by Muller & Phipps, as per a memorandum signed by Dow University’s Registrar Dr. Ashar Afaq. This partnership aims to make the vaccine available to every corner of the country in a phased manner.

The development and launch of the “Dow Rab” vaccine by Dow University of Health Sciences mark a significant milestone in Pakistan’s fight against rabies. It is a testament to the power of local innovation in addressing public health crises and offers a ray of hope to those affected by this deadly disease.

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