New Delhi / Mumbai: A 63-year-old woman died of A/H1N1 influenza at a private hospital in south Mumbai on Tuesday, taking the countrywide toll in the viral infection to 10.
Pandemic scare: A boy suffering from fever rests in his mother’s lap as he waits to be tested for the flu virus in Pune on Tuesday. Dhiraj Singh / AP
The deceased, identified as Sayeeda Dorjeewala from Mumbra, in neighbouring Thane district, was admitted in Noor Hospital on 6 August.
At least 850 persons have so far tested positive for the virus, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, with about 340 still undergoing treatment and the rest discharged from hospitals.
India was importing more supplies of flu drug Tamiflu and testing kits, and asking private hospitals to help state-run hospitals cope with a surge in people rushing to get tested.
In Hyderabad, where the world badminton championships are being held, a Malaysian coach was quarantined on Tuesday with symptoms of the flu, a government coordinator said.
In Mumbai, commuters on crowded local trains wore face masks or handkerchiefs, and several pharmacies were selling swine flu masks and hand sanitisers at several times the regular price.
The flu has also disrupted the business of Bollywood, with the shoot for the film ‘Kurbaan’ in Pune cancelled.
“There is no point taking a risk, especially because it is spreading so fast. It’s serious, and there’s no point taking such a huge crew,” Saif Ali Khan, who stars in the film, said.
Meanwhile, three Indian firms are working on a vaccine for the pandemic.
Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd, one of the firms developing a vaccine for the flu, will seek the government’s nod in two days for initiating clinical trials in this regard.
Cadila had set up a joint venture with the US-based vaccine maker Novavax for manufacturing and developing a host of vaccines, including for swine flu, in India.
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday initiated a process of developing low-cost indigenous testing kits for swine flu.
Drug firm Strides Acrolab Ltd said it is in a position to supply oseltamivir capsules, the only available medicine against Influenza A/H1N1 virus, to meet the demand both from domestic and overseas market.
“Strides is fully geared to meet significant supply of the product for domestic and international market,” Strides Acrolab said in a statement.
(‘Reuters’ contributed to this story.)