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Wed 24 Mar 2010 04:38 PM

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Pig virus scare sparks UAE child vaccine recall

UAE pulls infant vaccine Rotarix after discovery of pig virus DNA contamination.

Pig virus scare sparks UAE child vaccine recall
URGENT RECALL: The UAE Ministry of Health said on Wednesday doctors should temporarily stop using the vaccine.

Doctors in the UAE have been urged to suspend the use of children’s vaccine Rotarix after the drug was found to be contaminated by a strain of pig virus.

The UAE Ministry of Health said on Wednesday doctors should temporarily stop using the vaccine, and ordered a recall of all stocks from hospitals and pharmacies in the emirates.

The warning follows the discovery by an academic team – later confirmed by US drug regulators - that the drug had been contaminated with DNA from a pig virus called porcine circovirus 1, or PVC1.

The drug, manufactured by UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, is typically given to infants aged 24-weeks or younger to protect against rotavirus, which can cause diarrhea and fever.

In a statement, the drug giant said the PCV1 strain is not known to cause illness in humans, and is found and consumed in everyday meat products.

A spokesperson for the UAE Ministry of Health, Dr Amin Al-Amiri, said the vaccine has a low uptake rate in the country.

“The vaccine, which is given to infants to inoculate them against the rotavirus, is very rarely used and there is no evidence at this time that it poses a safety risk,” he said in a statement issued by the federal news agency, WAM.

The vaccine has already been suspended by both US and European drug regulators, who have asked Glaxo to investigate how the viral strain contaminated the vaccine.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the risks from rotavirus, which kills an estimated 500,000 children a year globally, outweigh the potential risks from PCV1.

An estimated 69 million doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide. Global sales of the vaccine in 2009 were $425m, Glaxo said.

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Harvey Ellis 10 years ago

I hope this story will make people think twice of the dangers of vaccinations and potential risks attached. Certainly, this vindicates the posts in the last story on this subject: See link: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/581277-chicken-pox-vaccine-compulsory-for-all-uae-babies

Ajaz 10 years ago

You implement without advance testing & when you find it's contamination of deadly virus...you simply say SORRY to all or just recall the stock!!! Is it the solution?? What about the infants who have already taken it?? A million thaks to Allah SWT as I denied to take last month for my baby.

Harvey Ellis 10 years ago

French government is now paying less for the pile of anti-H1N1 vaccines it purchase last year. How these drug/vaccine companies get away with this scandal and false proft-making is beyond me! http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE62M0T520100323

Aida 10 years ago

It would be interesting to know how do these vaccines always get contaminated? Are they stored openly in the pig farm? Or is it added as some kind of filler or "little extra" in laboratories? And then the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the risks from rotavirus, which kills an estimated 500,000 children a year globally, outweigh the potential risks from PCV1- so they are still suggesting to use it?! What is this organization reallystanding for? Why it is still in use in UAE when the vaccine has already been suspended by both US and European drug regulators. And also can someone explain in religious point of view -it it really OK to inject with this vaccine muslim children. I would suggest UAE Goverment to sue GlaxoSmithKline and ask for at least moral damages. These kind of companies have to understand that they can not play with human health. I have noticed that these kind of "contamination" cases appear lately suspiciously too often. Production of vaccines should be done in highly sterile environment, so it can not be that there are contents that are not deliberately put there by the manufacturer. What I am interested is - how are these "contaminations" discovered? When you inject it into your child, you obviously do not find it out. Maybe it would be good idea to set up government independent vaccine control laboratory, which all vaccines have to pass. It is ridicilous blindly trust (big) profit-oriented manufacturer, which has already proven couple of times, that they do not have ethics in this business.

Ayub 10 years ago

i have given this medicine last week and after reading this news i am much worried and immediately called to check to verify. He has confirm that there is no issue in giving the injection to Kids and moreover he has said that vaccination has given to his grand children in US. Looking for net any side effects of this medicines and its cost 21.500 kd. I have given that it will be good for the baby but from morning i am totally disturbed.

Skylar Saveland 8 years ago

This is an oral vaccine though? True or False?