Contaminated Polio Vaccine Vials In Telangana Recalled After Eradicated Virus Found in Oral Drops For Children
Contaminated vaccine scare in India (Photo Credits: Flickr, CDC)

The Telangana government has recalled thousands of vials of polio vaccines manufactured by the company Biomed after cases of contaminated vaccines were reported in Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, according to a news report in TOI. The contamination was detected in the bivalent oral polio vaccine (BoPV). The centre has initiated a probe into the matter and has alerted that the children born after 2016 are at risk and they need to take an additional round of inactivated polio vaccine or IPV. Contaminated Polio Vaccine Given to Children in Maharashtra, Telangana and UP.

The central government has sent out an emergency communication to all the health departments across the country to recall one particular batch (B10048) of the Biomed vials.

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The situation arose when the vaccines belonging to Bio-Med Pvt Ltd, a privately-held company, were found to have a strain of virus that was previously known to be eradicated from the world. The incident put thousands of children’s lives at risk and also highlighted lapses in the quality regulation in the pharma industries in India.

Surveillance reports of last month showed polio type 2 virus in stool samples of some children in Uttar Pradesh. An investigation launched into the matter revealed the presence of the virus in some batches of the vaccines that were manufactured in Ghaziabad. According to an unidentified health official who spoke to PTI, the virus has been detected in one batch of the 50,000 vials of the vaccine made by Bio-Med. The same contamination could be suspected in 2 more batches comprising 100,000 vials. Can Vaccines Eradicate AIDS Like Polio and Small Pox?

The central government has sent out an emergency communication to the three states – Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra – to track down the children and keep a close watch on them. On October 2nd, strains of the deadly virus were also detected in the Mumbai sewers, according to a news report in TOI. 4 Vaccines That Should Be on Every New Born’s Chart.

While it has understandably caused a panic in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) has downplayed the risks of administering contaminated vaccines to children. WHO has stated that there was only a minimal risk of contracting polio from the contaminated batch of vaccines.

Sharmila Sharma, WHO spokesperson, told Reuters that the risk was minimal due to the high routine polio immunisation coverage in India. It’s important to note that WHO is behind funding and supporting the polio-control programme in the country.

But the consequences of such a lapse can be potentially serious, considering that a previously eradicated virus has been reintroduced in children through the tainted vaccine.

It’s unclear how the vaccine beat surveillance, considering India had ordered such type of vaccines to be discontinued in the country. Authorities are still investigating why Bio-Med was still producing the vaccine in the first place. They’ve been ordered by the Drug Controller General of India to stop the manufacture and sale of the tainted vaccine.

TOI reports suggested that the managing director of Bio-Med SPGarg was arrested over the weekend after the company produced and shipped around 150,000 batches of oral polio vaccine with the tainted virus strain. Along with Garg, other members of the firm Puneet Garg, Rajendra Prasad Garg, Kavita Garg and Usha Garg were booked under 17 A, 17 B, 27 (A) and 36 AG of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.