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H1N1 spreads; India awaits vaccine
NEW DELHI, NOV 29 (Agencies):
Published on 30 Nov. 2009 12:29 AM IST
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The H1N1 virus mutations are spreading at a fast pace in Europe and the US. The World Health Organisation has reported more than 1000 deaths in the last one week. While flu transmission remains very active in East Asia and Canada, it has peaked in the US. Of the 1000 deaths, 550 have been reported from North and South America and 330 from Europe. About 150 deaths were reported from the other parts of the world. Though no mutations have been seen in India as yet, the country has reported around 565 swine flu deaths and is still waiting for the vaccine.“The Indian Government is monitoring the cases and so far no mutations have been recorded,” says Indian Council of Medical Research According to the WHO, more than 65 million people in 40 countries across the world have been vaccinated against H1N1 virus. However, India hopes to get the vaccine by another one month. “We will have one vaccine ready by the end of December and two others in January,” says ICMR. The Indian Government first approached the four international pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the H1N1 vaccine in August, but no pre bookings were made. The Government said the booking would be done after clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in the country, according to CNN-IBN. However, last week GlaxoSmithKline has finally got a go ahead to start its clinical trials in the country. Two other pharmaceutical companies, Baxter and Novartis are also expected to start clinical trials soon as they’ve got the final go ahead. The process will at least take a month and a half. “The talks are on and we will soon start the trials. This is a requirement by the Indian Government to make sure the vaccine is safe for the Indian population,” says Baxter. Three Indian companies are also working on a swine flu vaccine which is expected to be available only by the end of March. Meanwhile, the WHO is investigating the mutations including cases of drug resistance.

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