Now you can spray a nasal vaccine to protect yourself against swine flu.
Nasovac, India’s first nasal vaccine was launched in the city on Wednesday and will be available across the country at chemists’ stores on a doctor’s prescription.
The vaccine, each dose of which costs Rs 160, has to be sprayed in both nostrils by a medical practitioner.
So far, the government has been issuing an injectible vaccine, Pananza, only to health workers who come in contact with patients testing positive for the swine flu.
“The spray is painless compared to the injectible vaccine and does not have any major side effects,” said Prakash Kulkarni, medical director of the Pune-based Serum Institute, which developed the vaccine.
“Doctors will probably recommend the vaccine to
only those people who have come in contact with a swine flu patient or to those who are in the high-risk category and suffering from conditions such as diabetes and hypertension,” Dr Pradeep Awate of state’s Influenza Cell told Hindustan Times.
“The intra-nasal vaccine is recommended to those above the age of three. However, because it is a live vaccine, which means it uses a live virus, it is not recommended for pregnant women,” Dr Awate said.
Approved by the Drug Controller General of India, Nasovac has been tested on animals and has undergone two rounds of clinical trials with 380 people including children and the elderly.
Kulkarni claimed that since the vaccine follows the nasal path taken by the virus to enter the body, it promises superior effectiveness in providing resistance to the virus.
Each dose contains a dehydrated powder of the influenza vaccine and a diluent.
Nasal vaccines have been used in Russia for more than 50 years and in the United States of America for more than 10 years.