Scientists design a universal flu vaccine
Scientists design a universal flu vaccine

Mumbai: The state government has approached the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to evaluate procurement of alternative antiviral drugs as opposed to Oseltamivir, popularly known as Tamiflu, being the only drug of choice to treat swine flu.

With the rise in the number of swine flu deaths, the state wants these alternate drugs to be put on trial in India and make it available here as it does not want to rely only on this particular medicine. A senior health official said the department of communicable disease have sent a letter to the NCDC suggesting them to search for an option and introduce new medicine for curing swine flu.

“The two new drugs are Peramivir and Baloxavir which has been introduced in UK and Japan. We have suggested to them to evaluate the introduction of these two new drugs as an option,” said Dr Pradeep Awate, head of epidemiology department of Maharashtra.

Dr Awate said the introduction of these drugs would be a long process, as they can be used only after the central Food and Drug Administration approve it for sale. Subhash Salunke, technical head of communicable diseases committee, said they want to use the new drugs Peramivir and Baloxavir in select patients suffering from swine flu in Maharashtra.

Both drugs are potent antivirals and more effective in dealing with high viral loads. The objective is to check the rising swine flu death count in the state “Both drugs are currently not available in the Indian market, which is why we have to approach the Union government to procure them. Once procured, we will frame guidelines for their rational use. Only patients with high viral load, and not responding to the first line of treatment of Oseltamivir, will be put on the new drugs,” said Salunkhe.

“Scientists at the Pune-based National Institute of Virology have made it clear that the virulence level of the virus remains the same. However, patients coming late for treatment and those with underlying medical conditions and in a bad shape, can be considered for the new drugs,” added Salunkhe.

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