Serum Institute set to launch fresh batch of H1N1 vaccine

Vaccine aims to protect user against H1N1 and influenza A & B in one intra nasal shot.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published: March 10, 2015 2:28:21 am
The spurt in swine flu cases in January and February triggered a demand for the vaccine. (Source: Express Archive) The spurt in swine flu cases in January and February triggered a demand for the vaccine. (Source: Express Archive)

Pharma major Serum Institute of India is ready to launch 65,000 doses of NasoVac S in the market. The decision to launch swine flu (H1N1) vaccine, which is administered as a nasal drop, follows a spurt in cases of H1N1. The company had been forced to destroy millions of doses of its vaccine against swine flu last December as there were no takers.

The spurt in H1N1 cases in January and February triggered a demand for the vaccine. “By then, the shelf life of the vaccine had expired and we had to start manufacturing it again. It is ready for release either tomorrow or the day after,” Dr Rajeev Dhere, Executive Director of the Serum Institute told The Indian Express.

The vaccine protects users against H1N1 virus and influenza A and B. Since January 215, swine flu patients in Maharashtra have succumbed to the virus. There are 405 patients admitted to hospitals, 42 of them on ventilator support, Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer said.

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While 2.46 lakh persons have been screened for swine flu symptoms, 25,850 have been given oseltamivir tablets. A total of 2,589 swine flu cases have been reported across the state.

“We procured and distributed 3000 doses of injectable vaccine of Sanofi Pasteur of which Pune got its share of 800,” Dr Awate said. “The concern is whether paramedical officers will volunteer for immunisation. Past experience shows our health workers refused the vaccine,” says Dr S T Pardeshi, acting chief medical officer of Pune Municipal Corporation. While he says the vaccine from the state is yet to reach the corporation, health officials said 800 doses of injectable vaccine had been despatched.

Chief Medical Officer of Health at Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation Dr K Anil Roy said they procured the vaccine doses and sent letters to 23 dispensaries and eight hospitals. “We asked for information of paramedical and health workers involved in primary care of screening and testing patients with swine flu symptoms if they want to avail of immunization,” Roy said. He admitted that in the past there had been no takers for the vaccine.

At Sassoon hospital, Dr D B Kadam, head of the department of medicine said they had given the vaccine to resident doctors and nurses. “Presently there are two patients in ICU and five in the ward,” Kadam said.

According to Dr H H Chavan, Deputy Director, Pune circle, 150 doses each have been given to district hospital at Aundh, PMC and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. A total of 100 doses of the vaccine were given to Sassoon hospital and the remaining lot was sent to Solapur and Satara hospitals.

Swine flu claims three more lives

Pune Municipal Corporation on Monday registered three more swine flu deaths. A 40-year-old man from Bhavani Peth, a 40-year-old woman from Vallabhnagar Pimpri and a 49-year-old from Dhayari died of swine flu on Monday. There were 12 swine flu deaths registered by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

Forty-year-old Javed Shaikh had fever, cough and breathlessness since February 23 and was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He was treated at KEM from February 27 and started on oseltamivir from February 28. He died of swine flu (H1N1 related pneumonia) on March 9 while 40-year-old Sunita Konge from Pimpri succumbed to the virus at YCM hospital. Forty-nine-year-old Ravindra Salunke from Dhayari who had diabetes and hypertension and was on treatment for breathlessness, bodyache , sore throat and cough from March 3. He availed of treatment from Naidu hospital but was admitted to Deendayal hospital.

He died of acute respiratory distress syndrome related to H1N1 virus and renal failure. While there are 60 persons admitted to various hospitals a total of 26 are on ventilator support . According to PMC officials, of the total 42 deaths, 20 persons from outside the city area. They had sought treatment at local hospitals here and hence registered by PMC as swine flu deaths.

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