Indian Pediatr 2010;47:
NTAGI Subcommittee Recommendations Did Not
Overlook Crucial Data
JP Muliyil (Chairman) and T Jacob John (Member),
NTAGI Subcommittee on Hib vaccine,
Correspondence to: Dr. T. Jacob John, 439, Civil Supplies Godown Line,
Kamalakshipuram, Vellore, TN, 632 002.
We, as individuals who participated in the meeting of the Subcommittee of
National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on the issue of the need
and potential of introduction of Hib vaccine in India, wish to respond to
the allegation by Dutta and Puliyel, that the Subcommittee overlooked
‘crucial ICMR data(1). When some of us attended a meeting in Nirman Bhawan
on 14 December 2009, one of the authors made the same allegation orally
and was told, clearly, that his allegation was untrue and that the data
referred to were indeed discussed in the Subcommittee meeting.
The Subcommittee report in question has internal
evidence for the fact that the so-called ‘crucial ICMR data’ were indeed
looked at, and not overlooked(2). The study in Anaicut referred to in the
correspondence was part of a multi-centre, preparative phase, of an
intended Hib vaccine ‘probe study’, as clearly mentioned in reference 22
of the Subcommittee report(2). The centres were in Chandigarh (under
Rajesh Kumar), Kolakata (under SK Bhattacharya) and Vellore (under
Anuradha Bose). The study had commenced in late 2005 and ended in the
first quarter of 2007. All investigators were invited to discuss their
data in the Subcommittee meeting and Kumar and Bose attended, as recorded
in Appendix 1, List of Participants, which by itself is sufficient
evidence that their data were presented and discussed(2). Their data had
been discussed in ICMR earlier in January 2008, well ahead of the
Subcommittee meeting in April 2008 according to the Subcommittee report,
as per reference 22(2).
The statement that the multi-centre study was not cited
in Appendix 2 is also untrue since it refers twice to the study
report as presented to ICMR earlier. The cleaning up of data, analysis and
detailed interpretations on the findings had not been completed and
written up for publication at that time. In the 2009 December 14 meeting
it was mentioned that the paper was under editorial review process. It was
published in 2010 May in Indian Journal of Medical Research(3). We wonder
what the motivation was for repeating the allegation in a reputed journal,
in spite of knowing the truth.
1. Dutta P, Puliyel JM. NTAGI recommendations
overlooked crucial ICMR data. Indian Pediatr 2010; 47: 542-543.
2. Subcommittee on introduction of Hib vaccine in
Universal Immunization Programme, National Technical Advisory Group on
Immunization, India. NTAGI subcommittee recommendations on Haemophilus
influenzae type b vaccine introduction in India. Indian Pediatr 2009;
3. Gupta M, Kumar R, Deb AK, Bhattacharya SK, Bose A,
John J, et al. Multi-centre surveillance for pneumonia and
meningitis among children (<2 yr) for Hib vaccine probe trial preparation
in India. Indian J Med Res 2010; 131: 649-658.