A Pune-based firm on Wednesday launched a vaccine for swine flu and said a similar drug for children below three years is likely to hit the market soon.
'Nasovac' is a indigenously developed intra-nasal vaccine for swine flu, a pandemic that has claimed over 1,000 lives in the country since its outbreak in May last year, Serum Institute of India Ltd Executive Director (Operations) Adar C Poonawalla told reporters here.
Serum is also in the process of developing an anti-swine flu vaccine for children below three years, he said, adding, "it is expected to hit the market in the next 2-3 months."
The current vaccine, priced at Rs 160 per dose, is for adults and children above three years.
However, Nasovac is not to be administered to pregnant and lactating women.
"Our recommendation is that it (Nasovac) should not be administered to pregnant and lactating women, besides children below three years," Poonawalla said.
"But the medical fraternity says this decision should be left to them. They think that if the women are in a high-risk area, they should be vaccinated. So we have no objection, but it is better that if these vaccines are not given to them," Poonawalla pointed out.
The firm envisages an investment of over Rs 100 crore to augment the capacity from the present 45 million doses to around 135 million doses.
"We have spent about Rs 50 crore on the pilot plant," he said, adding the firm plans to spend more to triple the capacity in 1 to 2 years.
Poonawalla said the company has set a sale target of 20-25 million doses in first year.
He claimed the company had donated vaccines worth Rs 10 crore to various hospitals, NGOs and the underprivileged.