India to launch injectible polio vaccine

November 12th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Anbumani RamadossNew Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) India will soon introduce an injectible polio vaccine (IPV) in the nine troubled districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, considered to be the hotbed of polio in the country, to check the spread of the epidemic.“The IPV vaccine would be introduced in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar districts to control the spread of the disease,” Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters here Wednesday.

Though Uttar Pradesh was earlier described as the “world’s most tenacious reservoir of P1 poliovirus” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan, the state remained free of the most dangerous and fast travelling virus for a record one and a half years.

The minister said the P1 strain, considered to be the most dangerous strain that spreads fast, was not reported in the country’s most populous state for over 15 months.

India will introduce the IPV in the two states alongside the ongoing countrywide oral immunisation drive to eradicate the disease and Microsoft founder Bill Gates will help the country in this new strategy.

The decision to introduce the vaccine, which was not launched because of paucity of funds, was taken following the fresh injection of funds from Gates.

India is one of the few countries grappling to control the disease that affects children below the age of five. This year till Oct 31, the country has reported 499 cases of polio, a whopping 35 percent of the cases reported worldwide.

Last year, the country reported 874 cases, over 90 percent of them from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“We want to check polio transmission in the country,” said Ramadoss.

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