The increasing number of swine flu cases and fatalities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana have taken us back to bitter memories of 2009, when the Swine flu virus made its first attack. Swine flu infection got the pandemic status, as it caused large number of deaths across the world. To everybody’s respite, the successful trivalent Influenza shots, though imported ones, made a very promising debut that time. They gave a hope to all of us. After using these, people will not succumb to Swine flu each year.
Great Indian biotech companies like Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Panacea Biotech offered to provide affordable indigenous H1N1 Influenza including swine flu vaccine at a meagre cost of Rs. 100. Back in 2010-11, number of Swine flu cases dropped and government didn’t do enough to promote indigenous vaccines. The whole project of “made in India”, low cost Influenza vaccine accessible to masses, came to a halt.
Now, we are back to square one. Large number of people can’t afford vaccines and are dying of swine flu. This situation could have been avoided, if we were well prepared. “Prevention is always better than cure”, so true, isn’t it? So, we should never underestimate the importance of vaccines in saving human lives. Influenza outbreak should be a wake up call for all responsible authorities to start acting, before it gets too late.