Hyderabad: The emergence of Type 2 strain of polio virus shows that the vials which were to be destroyed are still in use. The sampling of stools by World Health Organisation in Uttar Pradesh and the finding of Type 2 strain shows the lapses in the drug control administration.
Dr Krishna M. Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech, said, “The Type 2 strain of polio virus was discontinued in 2016 as there were cases of vaccine-derived polio. Vaccines are now made for only Type 1 and 3 strains. The WHO has asked all companies manufacturing the polio vaccine to destroy the Type 2 vials.”
He said the Type 2 was not even being used in R&D. To ensure that pharmaceutical companies follow rules, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has to carry out checks from time to time. “There was a similar incidence in 2016 in Hyderabad which shows that the Type 2 vaccine is still in use,” Dr Ella said.
India achieved polio-free status in 2011 and was officially certified by WHO in 2014. The Indian Paediatrics Journal has reported 50 cases of vaccine-derived polio since 2014. That is why the WHO wanted the Type 2 vaccine to be destroyed.
A senior scientist said. “The company was using the Type 2 strain despite being told not to do so. This means that drug controllers are not checking it properly. The finding was by WHO sample testing which shows that the compliance levels in India continue to be a challenge.”
Experts state that the problem is in the use of cheap vaccines and that puts the complete effort at risk. WHO is continuously monitoring for the polio virus because neighbouring countries are still reporting the disease.
A senior pharmaceutical official explained, “The company Biomed Private Limited has a 25 per cent share in the private market too. Hence the government must not focus only on their program but look at the batches which are in the open market.”