India works with Hilleman to help industry avoid waste in vaccines stockpile

Drug Controller General of India G.N. Singh

India's government has decided to step in and help resolve a major issue that has plagued the country for several years: a stockpile of vaccines whose effectiveness expires before they can be distributed.

The Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation has been working with the India contract research organization, Hilleman Laboratories, on what are called thermostable vaccines that rely on dry-powder forms with a longer life expectancy without refrigeration.

The Drug Controller General of India, G.N. Singh, told India Today the government has been working with Hilleman on a proposal first to research and develop formulations of oral rotavirus vaccines that are thermostable across a variety of temperatures and environmental conditions.

The expectation so far for the R&D that began last year is that vaccines can be developed to remain stable over many months in ambient temperatures, a far cry from the need to keep current vaccines at temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

If that work bears fruit, Singh said, "We will support the technology and implement it."

- here's the story from India Today