DPT shot spoiled in India's ongoing vax saga

As most in the vaccine industry know, some things can't be hurried. India should now know it, too.

After promising 32 million doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine last March, the Pasteur Institute of India has brewed an unusable shot thanks to a substandard component. Neither the Coonoor-based manufacturer nor the Indian government should be surprised--production began before the facility had earned its GMP credentials.

The Times of India reports the matter as a case of internal government pressure meeting "over-enthusiasm" on the part of the institute. Quality control took the hit and inferior tetanus toxoid contaminated the yield. The 320 million dose spoilage amounts to a $1.9 million loss. And of course India will have to find another source.

It's the latest chapter in India's on-again, off-again attempt to produce vaccines domestically under government control. A shutdown of three state-owned plants (including Coonoor) due to standards noncompliance in 2008 led to shortages of some vaccines and eventually to a full-steam-ahead mandate to revamp the facilities and get back into the vaccine business.

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