The government has decided to allow Anglo-American drug major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to test its swine flu vaccine on Indians, a step that would make the vaccine available in the country by the year end, according to director general health services (DGHS) Dr RK Srivastava.
On successful conclusion of the tests, the vaccine will likely be launched in India by December 2009. The health ministry is also expected to place an initial order of over 10 million doses of the vaccine with the company.
Though the company agreed to test its vaccine on Indians only after the government placed tentative orders, the government has said it would conduct its own experiments on the vaccine to be fully satisfied of the final product.
The initial procurement will cover the needs of health workers and high-risk groups like pregnant women according to Srivastava and the vaccines will be procured after GSK successfully completes human trials in
The health ministry had written to four drug majors - GSK, Novartis, Baxter and Sanofi Aventis inviting them to test the vaccine on Indian citizens. According to Dr Vishwa Mohan Katoch, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research and health ministry secretary, the companies were testing the vaccine in other countries and the ministry wrote to them to conduct tests in India simultaneously.
According to Katoch eight testing sites where the trials for both international and domestic companies may be conducted have been identified.