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Maharashtra phases out nerve tissue-based rabies vaccine

12 June, 2005

Maharashtra state to use only tissue culture vaccines (TCVs) for preventive rabies care.


The state-run hospitals of Maharashtra, India have switched over to tissue culture vaccine (TCV) to control rabies from the beginning of June 2005.

The last vial of the erstwhile neural tissue based anti-rabies vaccine went off-shelf from 31st of May, 2005. 

The Indian public sector firm, Haffkine’s Bio Pharmaceuticals was the chief supplier of anti-rabies vaccine to Maharashtra state hospitals. The company was supplying around 4 million units of neural tissue vaccine (NTV), annually.

Out of the total yearly requirement of nearly 14 million units, 7-9 million units sourced from the public sector. The rest was purchased from the public and private sector manufacturers from other states of India.

The Mumbai-based Haffkine’s Bio had stopped producing the vaccines from December 1, 2004 following the recommendation by WHO to phase out neural tissue vaccines (NTVs) and use only tissue culture vaccines (TCVs) to preventive rabies care. However, the units which have already been manufactured were allowed to stay in the market with a 5-months’ deadline.

According to sources, public hospitals across the state have already started feeling the pinch and have been reeling under acute shortage of ARVs for the last couple of months.

ARV is one of the essential stocks in all public health centres as the city of Mumbai alone reports about 25,000 dog-bites per month.

However, government sourced maintained that to avert the acute crisis of ARVs, the health authorities have already started negotiations to procure vaccines from leading tissue culture vaccine (TCV) producers like Aventis.


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