India was hit hard by dengue cases this year while the Mexican government gave the green signal to the world's first anti-dengue vaccine, called Dengvaxia, developed by France-based Sanofi Pasteur.

It may however be quite a while before Indians have access to it."The vaccine is currently in the third phase of clinical study. At present, only the Mexican government has approved it. This vaccine has still not been approved globally but if it passes the third phase it will get the required approval," Rajesh Kumar, senior consultant (internal medicine), Paras Hospital, Gurgaon, said

The total number of dengue cases in Delhi reached over 12,000 in October. The city recorded the highest number of patients of the viral disease in 19 years.Climate change was one of the reasons attributed to by researchers for this surge and continuance of the disease into the winter months.

While the wait is on for India to give its nod for the vaccine, the nation gave a breather to patients of chronic hepatitis C with the Drug Controller General of India okaying the launch of generic hepatitis-C drug Harvoni by two Indian drug makers.It is estimated that 12-18 million patients are infected with hepatitis C in India.

Looking back, the country also made good on its attempts to harness the power of the small: nanotechnology.It entered the select league of nations (the US and Ireland) which have the technology to manufacture raw material for generating nano-crystal based medicines.The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, designed and licensed the technology for producing nano-crystal based medicines that could bring down costs.Drugs in the form of these nanoparticles with crystalline characters, act faster and are more efficient than conventional ones.

Dubbed NanoCrySP, the solid dispersions are water soluble and, therefore, easily absorbed.NIPER has already got an Indian patent for the technology and has now applied for the US and European patents.