Govt sets up a 24x7 control room for information on Zika | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt sets up a 24x7 control room for information on Zika

The government on Monday set up a control room for providing information on Zika virus disease that has most of Latin and central America and the Caribbean in its grip.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2016 07:57 IST
The government has set up a control room for providing information on Zika virus disease.
The government has set up a control room for providing information on Zika virus disease.(AFP Photo)

The government on Monday set up a control room for providing information on Zika virus disease that has most of Latin and central America and the Caribbean in its grip.

The 24x7 control room is operational at the ministry of health and family welfare. People can call on 011-23061469 and 011-23063205 at any time to get a response to their queries on the mosquito-borne disease.

In addition to the two diagnostic facilities at National Centre for Disease Control and National Institute of Virology, Pune, 10 new testing facilities will become operational by end of February. If required, another 10 laboratories will be added to the list.

The signages informing about the disease are being placed at 18 international airports, and informative pamphlets have also been prepared for immigrating passengers.

Meanwhile, the much-talked about India-made Zika virus vaccine may still be a far cry, with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) asking Bharat Biotech, the company claiming to have developed two vaccine candidates, to come back with more solid research.

Talking to HT, director general ICMR, Dr Soumya Sawminathan, said, “Our scientific committee met people from Bharat Biotech last week but did not find adequate evidence to know how the vaccine was going to behave. We have asked them to come back with a little more data.”

According to ICMR, the company is still trying to develop the vaccine candidate and once that happens they will have to make the product undergo toxicological testing that may take at least six months or more.

“They have got the principle right as they have an inactivated virus, but it needs to be developed and such things take time. They can’t bypass the regulatory procedures... We have given them a go ahead though,” said Dr Swaminathan.

In a statement on February 3, the Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer said they began work on Zika virus vaccine in 2014, and filed the patent about 9 months ago. Krishna Ella, chairman and MD, Bharat Biotech, had said, “The normal process for a vaccine to get commercialised takes about seven years, which includes the clinical trials, but if the Indian government moves aggressively in regulatory approvals then the vaccine could be made available.”