H1N1 vaccine to be available in Feb

“The vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur should be available here between February 15 and 20. The imported vaccine is currently undergoing trials in hospitals in Delhi, Chandigarh and Pune,” Surinder Singh, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), said here on Tuesday. Once approved, India may buy 1.5 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from the French company.

In the first two weeks of January, the DCGI has also accorded approval to four Indian vaccine manufacturers to come out with an Indian H1N1 vaccine.

The Indian H1N1 vaccine — supposed to be at least three times cheaper than the imported products — should be available in the market by the middle of April, Singh said.

Four Indian companies — Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech, Cadila and Panacea Biotech — are developing the vaccine with seeds from the World Health Organisation. The companies have received financial support from the World Health Organisation as well as the department of biotechnology.

Singh said the Indian vaccine could be priced in the range of Rs 80-Rs 100 per dose, though the companies are the final authority to decide on the price.
The imported H1N1 vaccine would be available much before the Indian products, though the Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine is only meant for healthcare workers. The company is carrying out a “bridging study” that foreign H1N1 vaccine manufacturers need to do if their flu vaccines are to be used in India.

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