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Kul Bhushan, GVJ Baily, SS Nair, KT Ganapathy & Vijay Singh: Indian J Med Res 1975, 63, 1335-43.

The Freeze-Dried BCG vaccine manufactured in India is sealed under vacuum. This though adds to its stability involves expensive production procedures. Sealing in presence of nitrogen is both simpler and economical. Before producing this vaccine for use on a large scale, it was considered necessary, to study the influence of storage at higher temperatures on the allergy inducing capacity on the basis of the size of local lesion and viable counts of Freeze-Dried BCG vaccine sealed either in vacuum or in the presence of nitrogen. For this, half of the ampoules of a batch of vaccine prepared in Madras BCG Vaccine Laboratory were sealed in vacuum and the other in presence of nitrogen. Randomly selected ampoules of both types of vaccine were exposed to 37o and 44o for 2, 6, and 18 weeks and another set at 4oC for 18 weeks. Two batches of liquid BCG vaccine were made as controls: 16 types of ampoules thus obtained were randomly repeated 5 times according to Standard Lattice Design. About 3000 school children without BCG scar, aged 5-14 years In Bundi and Kota districts of Rajasthan were vaccinated as per the study design. post-vaccination allergy with 5 TU RT 22 by measuring the size of vaccination lesions was recorded 3 months later. Viable counts on samples of ampoules from Freeze-Dried BCG vaccines exposed differently were done in the production laboratory after 18 weeks of storage.

The vaccine in 16 types of ampoules was significantly different. Liquid BCG vaccine resulted in higher level of allergy and larger vaccination lesions than Freeze-Dried BCG vaccine sealed under either method. The study has shown that Freeze-Dried BCG vaccine sealed under either method vacuum or nitrogen, gave satisfactory level of post-vaccination allergy and induration size of vaccination lesions, provided the vaccine was preserved at 4oC. Storage at 37o for more than 2 weeks and even 2 weeks storage at 44oC affected both types of vaccine badly as shown by post-vaccination allergy and viable counts. However, decrease in viable count with time and temperature was more pronounced in vaccine sealed in presence of nitrogen. Hence, there is a need to provide cold chain facility for Freeze-Dried vaccine all throughout the period.