India will import H1N1 vaccine if developed anywhere

"Three Indian companies are working to develop the swine flu vaccine. Should any country develop the vaccine first, we will import it for our doctors, paramedics staff and health workers who have close encounter with swine flu patients," Azad told reporters here.

In India, three pharmaceutical companies - Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Panacea Biotech - are working on developing the vaccine.

"One of these companies has already commenced animal trials of these vaccines. To ensure fast track production of the vaccines, we have decided that the Indian Council for Medical Research would harmonise animal trials of the vaccines being developed by these companies," said Azad.

Azad said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had given the "seed stock" of the influenza A (H1N1) virus to India.

The seed stock is the cultured virus, which has the highest vaccine immunity and is commonly present in majority of the affected cases. If the vaccine is developed from the seed virus, it is likely to be effective for other strains.

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