Hyderabad, Aug 4: The Indian Council of Medical Research has swung into action following the first ever swine flu death in the country by hastening its plans to introduce by November-end an indigenously developed vaccine to contain novel human influenza virus.
India's first human influenza virus vaccine developed locally will be ready in about 100 days for phase-1 or phase-2 human trials to test its efficacy on the local population. The ICMR has invited letters of intent from research agencies
and major hospitals to carry out H1N1 or swine flu vaccine trials in the country on human beings.
"There's a necessity for development of an indigenous vaccine that suits the local population. Other countries including the USA are also busy developing similar vaccines. The USA too plans to introduce the vaccine before winter sets in there," senior scientist Dr MN Khaja told this correspondent.
Presently seasonal influenza vaccine is available in India but it does not give protection against the novel human influenza vaccine that claimed hundreds of lives world-wide. However, the new vaccine will not be a replacement to seasonal flu problems. Both the new vaccine as well as the existing seasonal flu vaccines will be available in the market.
High on the priority list of ICMR for the new vaccine trials are pregnant women, ayahs looking after children below six months, people between six months and 24 years of age, and those with health conditions associated with higher
risk of medical complications from flu.
The ICMR has received action plans for different types of vaccines like killed inactivated, live attenuated, and vaccine developed from virus like particles. Some of these vaccines are likely to be available for human trials by November/December, according to senior scientist Dr Harpreet Kaur of ICMR.
During the trials ICMR team will evaluate safety, immunogenicity and tolerability of the vaccine(s). The ICMR has fixed August 17 as the deadline for receipt of LoI from research groups and institutions.
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