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India to launch swine flu vaccine this year

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After having got its first vaccine, India is all set to introduce its first influenza shot this year.

Probably among a few countries in the world which did not have a vaccine against general influenza, India will have a trivalent vaccine against flu by October this year.

Strains of raw material for the flu vaccine have been collected by the World Health Organisation throughout the year from various parts of the world, Drug Controller General of India, Surinder Singh told PTI.

This year, H1N1 (swine flu) strain is among the three strains which would be included in the flu vaccine, he said.

The manufacturers of the vaccine would be the four companies which have produced the swine flu vaccine, including Serum institute and Cadilla whose products have already hit the market.

Singh said the manufacturers can use the left over base from swine flu vaccine while making the seasonal flu vaccine.

India has already unveiled its first indigenous vaccine against swine flu which claimed over 18,000 lives globally and more than 1,000 in the country.

Earlier, the vaccine was being imported from French company Sanofi Pasteurs, for only health workers and other high-risk people.

The mandate for developing the vaccine had been given to four companies - Serum Institute (Pune), (Ahmedabad), Bharat Biotec (Delhi) and Panacea Biotech (Hyderabad).

While the vaccine developed by Zydus Cadilla is injectable, the one produced by Serum Institute would be in the form of a nasal drop.

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