India to develop swine flu vaccine by September

With global H1N1 cases on the rise, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India has conducted vaccine trials and the vaccine is likely to be ready by September.

The institute had received a contract from WHO in April to develop a vaccine against swine flu. While no deadline were given, the continuing spread of the flu has led to an urgency in developing a vaccine. So far, there is no effective vaccine available against the flu virus. (See: Swine flu spreads; WHO doubts early vaccine development)

In India one case of fatality due to swine flu was reported recently from Pune.

According to Dr Rajeev Dhere, director of the vaccine production at the institute, trials on animals will be carried out by the last week of August. The efficacy of the vaccine will be known by September, followed by tests of toxicity and human trials.

The government has reportedly asked the institute to speed up its development process. The institute has enough funds, manpower and infrastructure to develop the vaccine.

According to Dr Dhere, vaccine production is done in stages. The institute is also in touch with the Drugs Controller General of India and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for clearing administrative hurdles. A group of 50 people are working on vaccine production at the institute.