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Aug 31
Test H1N1 vaccine on Indians too
With news doing the rounds about some international companies being ready with H1N1 vaccines, India has asked these companies to involve it in their clinical trials. "About 10 days ago we had written to all four international companies that are preparing the vaccines to test the efficacy of the vaccine on our population," VM Katoch, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said. "We have also told them to keep us informed so we can move ahead with procuring the vaccines. We are expecting a reply early next week."

Dr Katoch added, however, that rushing to get the vaccines, without following procedure, may lead to serious public health issues. "A serious side effect of the influenza vaccine is paralysis. We cannot allow people to become crippled by merely trying to procure the vaccines in a hurry. They will also be tested in India only after a certification by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) and subsequently procured in bulk or allowed in the open market," Dr Katoch said.

While health ministry officials said it was not possible to immunise the entire population of India, minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the first batch of vaccines will be procured for doctors and paramedical staff who are in direct touch with H1N1 patients."We will procure the first batch of vaccines only for them at whatever cost," Azad said.

Meanwhile, the three Indian companies working to produce the vaccine have completed their first phase of animal trials. The vaccines produced by them are expected to be available by January.

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