Government on Tuesday said an indigenous Indian vaccine for H1N1 would be ready by the beginning of April, even as it demanded an inquiry into the 'panic' created by international bodies on the scale of the epidemic.
The four pharmaceutical companies, given the task of manufacturing a vaccine for swine flu, have begun human trials and the country would have its own vaccine by beginning of April, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Social Editor's conference in New Delhi, he said, while Europe and the western world vaccinate its population against even the normal flu, India does not have any such vaccine.
"Thus we are developing a swine flu vaccine which will form the base for immunising against other influenzas like bird flu as well," he said.
"The clinical trials have already started. By the end of March, the vaccines are expected to be ready," he said.
Director Health Research V M Katoch said while the Indian vaccine would be used for the masses, the government was also procuring some vaccine from international companies to immunise its health workers.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi said there should be an inquiry into the unnecessary panic created by international organizations, like the World Health Organisation. The WHO had recently in a press conference in Geneva said that the seriousness of the swine flu had been overestimated.
Azad said the ministry has also created a roadmap for the revival of the three vaccine producing Public Sector Units of the country, and has set up an expert committee, headed by former Health Secretary Javed Chowdhary in the matter.
"The committee is expected to submit its report within a week's time," he said.
He added that the layout plan for the Kasauli vaccine institute has already been approved by the WHO. The minister said the government was also cracking down on manufacturers of spurious drugs and had launched various schemes including setting up special courts to try such cases.
"We have also launched a special whistle blower scheme and have received 14 complaints over the last two months," he said.