The Ministry of Health on Thursday announced that it is all set to include launch polio vaccines (IPV) in the country's universal immunisation programme. The introduction of IPV in India's immunisation programme will roll out this month and will be carried out in a phased manner.
"The injectable Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) consists of inactivated (killed) poliovirus strains of all three poliovirus types.The inactivated polio vaccine produces antibodies in the blood to all three types of polio virus. In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis."- Polio Global Eradication Initiative
One of the advantages of IPV over the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is that since IPV is not a live vaccine, it does not carry the risk of vaccine-associated polio paralysis. IPV also triggers an excellent protective immune response in most people, states the Polio Global Eradication Initiative.
"With the introduction of IPV in their immunisation schedule, India moves the world much closer to being polio-free," Olivier Charmeil, CEO Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, told The News Minute via email."
As a company deeply rooted in India, we are very proud that vaccines produced by Sanofi Pasteur will soon be used in this vital step towards a polio free world. We have worked as partners of Government of India for many years and we always dreamed of this moment," he added.
Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are the six states that will be covered in the first phase in which three-month-old babies will be administered a single shot of the IPV, The Pioneer reported.
These six states, according the report, have over 50 per cent of the total population of 2.8 crore children in India and IPV will be administered along with the OPV drops.
"IPV will be introduced in all the States within next six months as per the WHO’s Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018," a senior official from the Union Health Ministry told The Pioneer.
According to the WHO's objective, at least one dose of inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) will be introduced into routine immunization programmes globally, after which trivalent oral polio vaccines (OPV) will be replaced with bivalent OPV in all OPV-using countries – setting the stage for eventually ending bOPV use.
At present, India is among the 126 countries that are using OPV. 30 countries are using both OPV and IPV and around 45 countries have switched to IPV, states the report.
Apart from Sanofi Pasteur (and its subsidiary Shantha Biotech), Serum Institute of India are among the pharmaceutical companies which will be supplying the IPV to India.
India's step comes later than most countries including Yemen and Ivory Coast.
One of the reasons for this could be that India requires a higher number of doses as compared to other countries.
Sanofi Pasteur has a facility in Hyderabad and will soon start manufacturing the vaccine from there. One of the most important questions here is why India does not have an indigenous production of the vaccine till now.