Govt action against BioMed contaminated polio vaccine supply; Minister informs RS
New Delhi: The Minister in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey recently informed the Parliament about the action taken by the government pertinent to polio vaccines manufactured by BioMed Pvt. Ltd that were found to be contaminated with polio type-2 virus.
This came while responding to queries raised by S Muthukaruppan during a Rajya Sabha session, seeking details of at least three batches of polio vaccines containing 1.5 lakh vials that were found contaminated with type 2 polio-virus. He also questioned about the Centre, regulatory body and doctors fearing that if the type 2 virus passes into the sewage or water system, it may regain neuro-virulence and spread polio.
In response to this, Choubey agreed to the revelation stating that a few batches of bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) supplied by BioMed Pvt. Ltd was found to be adulterated by Type 2 Polio vaccine virus at Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) Kasauli and Enterovirus Research Centre (ERC) Mumbai in 2018.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the MoHFW had red-flagged batches of polio vaccines manufactured by BioMed after a probe was launched and traces of polio type-2 virus was found in the product. According to a Health Ministry source, the contamination had come to light after surveillance reports from Uttar Pradesh showed signs of the virus in stool samples of some children.
Immediately, the OPVs were sent for testing which had confirmed that some of them were contaminated with a type-2 virus. An FIR was filed by the Central Drug Regulator and the Managing Director (MD) of the Ghaziabad-based firm supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes was arrested. The Drugs Controller General of India(DCGI) had also asked the company to stop “manufacture, sale or distribution until further orders.
The issue was recently raised in the parliament in response to which Choubey mentioned the following actions that have been taken by the Government regarding the issue;
- Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has issued show-cause notice and stop production order to the manufacturer and a police complaint has been filed.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued instructions to all States/UTs to stop the use of adulterated bOPV supplied by BioMed Pvt. Ltd.
He further mentioned that it is a fact that all oral polio vaccines contain live viruses that are shed by vaccinated kids in their stool.
"The type 2 polio vaccine viruses when passed into the sewage or water system as such cannot regain neuro-virulence. It regains neuro-virulence only though long sustain circulation of more than 6-8 months through an oral faecal route of one child to another," said Choubey.
"As per the latest surveillance data this type 2 polio vaccine viruses are not seen in both environment and children thereby indicating that it has stopped circulation and there is no risk of any neuro-virulence due to type 2 polio vaccine virus, " he added.