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India preparing to counteract bird flu threat

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss are to convene a high level meeting on how India can face the problem of bird flu epidemic. //Awareness of bird flu and rush for anti-viral drugs are very less in India compared to the Western countries. The World Health Organization has sent necessary directions to India to start getting prepared to face if there are any possible flu attack. Dr. Anbumani said the Ministry planned to open emergency care centres at district headquarters.

Dr. Anbumani said the Government would be starting manufacturing influenza vaccine and anti-viral drugs. The minister said that we couldn’t stock pile vaccines as westerners as we are not sure about which kind of strain will be causing an infection in India. Mr. Anbumani explained. "When the need arises we will go in for vaccine preparation in the country but we will have enough stock of medicine and the vaccine could be made at government-manufacturing units such as the Central Research Institute, Kasauli.

Asking people not to be scared, Dr. Anbumani said the Ministry had set up a facility to manufacture influenza vaccine and for the production-cum-procurement of anti-viral drugs. On precautionary measures the government has banned the import of poultry items. Dr. Anbumani said, “On the manufacture of generic drugs for treating the Avian flu a committee had been constituted to look into the issue and suggest whether the Government could cancel patents during emergencies as provided under the law and the issue will also be discussed with the Directorate-General of Health Services and the Drugs Controller of India.”

Source: The Hindu
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