Hyderabad: The containment of wild polio virus is required after India has been declared polio-free. This means facilities which are producing the oral polio vaccine (OPV) have to create infrastructure to contain the virus in their premises, according to World Health Organisation officials who were in the city to deliberate over the future action on polio.
Containment of wild virus is important the backdrop of the switch from OPV to inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which is an intra-muscular vaccine. In OPV, it was found that strains of the virus were released into sewage. To prevent this, IPV will be used in countries which are declared polio-free.
Mr Martin Eisenhawer of the WHO said, “The policy of containment requires India to have a National Authority of Containment which will be overseen by the ministry of health and audited regularly. The existing facilities which were producing oral vaccines have to take these measures.”
While the NAC is in the formative stage, the declaration of India as being polio-free requires that the facilities be set up soon.
The reason is because any escape of the virus into the environment via effluents or in sewage can again lead to polio cases. So far this year, there have been 12 polio cases reported from the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Vigil continues in India due to this.
Mr Kutub Mahmmood, project director of the polio vaccine global programme at PATH, said “There are three companies in India which have to work towards containment. The target is to make the world polio-free, and that will happen once we tackle the problem in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the same time, the production of inactivated polio vaccine has to be scaled up and standardised.”
The meeting had participants and presentations from four companies which are preparing the IPV, vaccine and they are now working towards a standardised product.
The consensus on the same is yet to be evolved as it requires scaling of the facilities with the manufacturers.