India to send team to Indonesia in connection with polio vaccine contamination probe

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Biomed had purchased the bulk vaccines from the Indonesian company

A five-member expert panel will visit Indonesia on October 29 to inspect pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma in connection with the type-2 polio virus contamination detected in oral polio vaccines used for immunisation in the country.

Around 1.5 lakh vials of the oral polio vaccines, supplied by Ghaziabad-based Biomed, were found contaminated with type-2 polio virus. The vaccines were administered to children in Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

“The team of experts will try to find out if the contamination was from the bulk manufacturers or not,” the official said.

The team will comprise representatives from the Health Ministry and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

“The team of experts will be travelling from October 29 -November 2 to inspect Indonesia’s PT Bio Farma. Proper approval from the Centre has been acquired in this regard,” the official said.

A CDSCO team recently also carried out detailed investigation at the factory of Biomed in Ghaziabad. The contamination came to light after surveillance reports from Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra showed signs of the virus in stool and sewage samples. Immediately, the polio drops were sent for testing which confirmed that some of them were contaminated with type-2 virus.

The Managing Director of Biomed, who was supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes, was arrested after the central drug regulator filed a complaint and an FIR was registered.

The Drugs Controller General of India also asked the company to stop ‘manufacture, sale or distribution till further orders’.