Pune company launches swine flu vaccine

A Pune-based firm today launched a vaccine for swine flu and said a similar drug for children below three years is likely to hit the market soon.

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2010, 20:47 PM IST

Mumbai: A Pune-based firm today 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.

PTI