The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with the Union Health Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in South Korea on 21 August 2017 to collaborate on vaccine research and development.
The pact was signed between Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Dr. Jerome H Kim, Director General of IVI.
India’s links with IVI: Background
• India shares a long history of scientific collaboration with the International Vaccine Institute.
• India officially became a signatory to the treaty of the South Korea-based organisation in 2012. The IVI has 35 signatory countries in total.
• The institute has been partnering with several Indian vaccine manufacturers, research institutes, government and public health agencies on vaccine development, research and training.
• The institute along with Shantha Biotechnics, an Indian biotechnology company based out of Hyderabad, developed Shanchol- the world’s first low-cost cholera vaccine. It was one of the institute’s most successful collaborations in India. The vaccine was licensed in India in 2009 and WHO-prequalified in 2011.
• The IVI also successfully collaborated with health authorities in Odisha to introduce the oral cholera vaccine for the first time in India in 2011.
• Besides this, the institute collaborated with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata on research and training projects, including the establishment of a vaccine evaluation lab at NICED.
With the current collaboration, India would be committing an annual contribution of USD 500000 to IVI thereby joining Sweden and South Korea as financially contributing signatories to the Institute.
According to Jerome H Kim, the Director General of IVI, India is a vaccine industry powerhouse that supplies 60 percent of the world’s vaccines for vaccine-preventable diseases and 60-80 percent of annual UN vaccine purchases and signing of the MoU is a continuation of their partnership with India to provide safe, effective and affordable vaccines for people around the world.
Speaking on the development, Dr. Swaminathan said that they have been working closely with the IVI for more than a decade and they are confident that this collaboration will elevate the vaccine research and development capacity at both IVI as well as in Indian labs and further benefit India’s vaccine industry.
• The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.
• It is also one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
• It is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
• All of its 26 national institutes research on specific health issues such as leprosy, cholera, tuberculosis and diarrhoeal diseases, viral diseases including AIDS, malaria, vector control, nutrition, food & drug toxicology, reproduction etc.
• Its 6 regional medical research centres address regional health problems and aim to strengthen or generate research capabilities in different geographical areas of the country.
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