The first batch of 1.5 million doses of imported H1N1 vaccines manufactured by Sanofi Pastuer arrived in India on Thursday.
These doses will be used to inoculate health workers testing and treating people infected with the H1N1 virus.
“The vaccines have arrived but haven’t got the Drug Controller General of India’s nod to be used in India. Trials in Kasauli are expected to take another two-and-a half weeks, after which the vaccinations will start. We expect all clearances by the end of February,” said a health ministry official not willing to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Since it was identified in April 2009, the H1N1 influenza virus has killed 15,174 people in 209 countries. India reported 28,251 cases with 1,135 deaths till February 6.
According to the World Health Organisation, the overall pandemic influenza activity continues to decline or remain low after peaking during late-October and November 2009.
Bangalore-based Bharat Biotech — second after Ahmedabad-based pharma major Zydus Cadila — has started Phase I clinical trials to test the safety of HN-VAC, its cell culture-based H1N1 vaccine candidate, after getting the nod from the Drugs Controller General of India on January 8.