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A(H1N1) vaccine in three months, says Azad

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New facility: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the modernised M.S. Ramaiah Medical Teaching Hospital in Bangalore on Friday.
New facility: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the modernised M.S. Ramaiah Medical Teaching Hospital in Bangalore on Friday.

Special Correspondent

‘It will be tested on at least 200 people before release’

BANGALORE: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said the vaccine for A(H1N1), which has been developed, will be ready for human application in three months.

Speaking to presspersons after inaugurating the modernised M.S. Ramaiah Medical Teaching Hospital here, the Minister said that the vaccine trial on small animals was over and that the trial on big animals was in progress. The trials may continue for two months and then it would be used on at least 200 persons before introduction in all hospitals.

The Minister said the trial on human beings would have to be done in all regions of the country because of the variation in climatic conditions. He said the virus had afflicted people in 210 countries, some of which had hastily developed the vaccine, but had failed to treat the patients.

Mr. Azad said his Ministry had advised States, where the problem was serious, to hold public briefings every day on the dos and don’ts as regards prevention of an attack. He said his Ministry had a stock of 40 million capsules, of which 20 million had been distributed to all States.

Earlier, addressing a gathering at the function, the Minister said he had wide-ranging discussions with the Medical Council of India on relaxing rules for doubling the teacher-student ratio in medical education. He said a new national entrance examination formula for MBBS graduates planning to pursue postgraduate courses would be introduced as an incentive for service in rural areas. “According to that scheme, a student who serves for one, two and three years in rural areas after graduation, will be given 10, 20 and 30 per cent grace marks respectively in the examination. Similarly, those who are ineligible for admission, but have served for 10 years in villages, will also be considered if they serve rural patients for another three years,” he said. Mr. Azad said the rules would be relaxed to allow private medical colleges to start MD courses, in some streams. He said 260 nursing colleges would be established in the private sector, which could supply 20,000 nurses every year.

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