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Tainted polio drop found in oral vaccine supplied by Ghaziabad pharma firm, one held

As the vaccine is part of the government’s universal immunisation programme, the ministry has issued directions for the immediate withdrawal of this particular manufacturer’s vaccine.

delhi Updated: Sep 29, 2018 07:25 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal and Rhythma Kaul
Peeyush Khandelwal and Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad/New Delhi
polio drop,Polio,Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation
Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation officials lodged an FIR with the Kavi Nagar police station. (HT File Photo)

The Ghaziabad police on Friday arrested the director of a vaccine-manufacturing company in Kavi Nagar, after Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) officials lodged an FIR alleging that some batches of the oral vaccine for poliomyelitis, manufactured by the firm, contained traces of polio virus type 2.

Officials of CDSCO and the ministry of health and family welfare lodged the FIR at Ghaziabad’s Kavi Nagar police station against five officials of Biomed Private Limited, including its director.

Following investigation, the police arrested the company’s director on Friday and are on the lookout for the others.

“The director of the company has been arrested. We have formed teams and are on the lookout for the other accused, who are on the run. The issue is of a serious nature and we are investigating the case on priority,” Vaibhav Krishna, senior superintendent of police, Ghaziabad, said.

Officials of Biomed Private Limited could not be reached for a comment.

As the vaccine is part of the government’s universal immunisation programme, the ministry has issued directions for the immediate withdrawal of this particular manufacturer’s vaccine.

“Now, the polio surveillance will track the children who were given this vaccine. They will need to observe how the virus behaves and the immunisation programme division will have to keep a close watch,” a health ministry official, requesting anonymity, said.

CDSCO officials were alerted about the presence of the type 2 polio strain about 15 days ago when a boy from Uttar Pradesh’s Hajipur allegedly tested positive for the virus.

“It showed up on their surveillance network and officials concerned tried to identify the polio vaccine batch that was administered to the boy. It was identified as that from the Ghaziabad company. One more sample from the same batch also tested positive. CDSCO then filed a case against the manufacturers,” a senior health ministry official, requesting anonymity, said.

Sources in CDSCO said the vaccines are usually prepared with strains of the virus but the stock containing type 2 was ordered to be destroyed by the World Health Organisation and the central government in 2016.

“The samples supplied by the company were sent for testing and they tested positive for the strains of polio type 2. All stocks of vaccines containing the strain were destroyed in 2016. Yet, samples from the company tested positive for type 2. More samples have been collected and sent for testing,” an officer of CDSCO said.

The complaint said that the drug controller had ordered the destruction of the stocks and a communication had also been sent to the company. The company had agreed to comply with the order.

“But samples tested positive and that meant the vaccine supplied was either contaminated or the type 2 batch was available with them. The company supplies the vaccine to the ministry which, in turn, distributes it to different states,” the officer said.

On the basis of the complaint, the police lodged an FIR under sections 18, 30, 27 and 36a of the Drug & Cosmetics Act at the Kavi Nagar police station.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 07:25 IST