The Health Ministry has given nod to French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur for conducting pre-market trials of swine flu vaccine in the country.

An order of 15 lakh vaccine dosages worth Rs 50 crore has been given to the company for starting the vaccine trials.

“Of four international vaccine manufacturers, it has been decided that Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine will be used here. GSK, Baxter and Novartis also have shown interest in selling H1N1 vaccine in India,” an official in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday.

He said, “Sanofi Pasteur will supply 1.5 million doses of swine flu vaccine at present. An expenditure to the tune of Rs. 50 crore has been incurred for it.”

At present, the company will conduct pre-market human trials of swine flu vaccine to check its efficacy on Indians.

“Since no Indian company is ready yet for the phase IV trial, we are considering the foreign brand as it is already tried, tested and in use in other countries,” Dr. V. M. Katoch, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research said.

More than 21,000 people have been affected by swine flu virus in India and more than 700 deaths have been reported from different cities here.

Zydus Cadila of Ahmedabad, the Indian swine flu vaccine manufacturing company, has recently got a nod from the Drug Controller General of India to carry out human studies of its vaccine.

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