Anti-rabies vaccine: protest against Govt. action

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Nov. 13. The Hyderabad-based Human Biologicals Institute (HBI), a division of the Indian Immunologicals Ltd., a subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board, has protested against the Kerala Health Department's disinclination to order its anti-rabies vaccine, Abhayarab, even after the authorities concerned have given a clean chit to it.

Its representative, Dinar A. Kumar, said in a statement here today that the use of the vaccine was stopped throughout the State after a patient at a Government hospital orally reported allergic reaction in August last. He said the Drug Inspector of Kollam, who investigated the matter, had reported among other things that the vaccine was stored in room temperature and not in a temperature ranging between two to eight degrees centigrade as it should have been. The vaccine changes its colour when exposed to higher temperature.

He claimed that on the basis of the report, the Drug Controller issued a letter to the chairman of the Central Purchase Committee recommending the replacement of batch 90 by the manufacturer and the continued use of the vaccine.

Subsequently, samples of batches 85, 86, 90 and 91 were sent to the CRI, Kasauli, without cold chain maintenance for testing. The HBI representative said that they passed the stringent quality control tests even though they exhibited physical change, change of colour due to high temperature. The samples of these batches were subjected to tests once again at the King Institute, Chennai. Mr. Kumar said that it also gave a clean chit to the vaccine.

The drug authorities of Kerala and Tamil Nadu visited the Ooty plant of the company and reportedly expressed satisfaction at the manufacturing facilities.