One question that everyone wants an answer to is — when is India's indigenous vaccine for swine flu coming?
With the number of swine flu cases shooting up — India reported 179 cases in 48 hours — everyone is looking at the vaccine as their only hope.
Health experts also feel the same.
“Ultimately, it’s the vaccine which is going to wipe the disease out as the virus usually develops resistance to anti-drugs,” said Dr Surinder Singh, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
“The vaccine will be ready in five to seven months,” said Union Health MInister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
It is expected to cost between Rs 80 and Rs 100.
“The H1N1 virus is 10 times less virulent (deadly) than the bird flu virus (H5N1), which makes a vaccine quite effective in preventing and lowering the severity of symptoms,” he said.
Three vaccine companies — Panacea Biotech, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India — are working on the H1N1 vaccines.
“Should any country develop the vaccine before India, we will import it to safeguard our doctors, nurses and paramedical staff that comes in direct contact with swine flu patients,” said Azad.