India, US Extend Vaccine Partnership Till 2027

NEW DELHI | Updated: 13 October, 2022 2:55 pm IST

With the threat of a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic still looming over the world, India and the United States have extended for five years their agreement in research, development, and manufacturing of vaccines.

The statement to extend the Indo-US Vaccine Action Program till 2027 was signed by Dr Rajesh S Gokhale, secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Maryland, US.

Indian ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu was also present during the ceremony on the sidelines of the 34th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) of the VAP.

Established in July 1987, the agreement is renewed every five years. It has contributed to the expansion of Indian research capacity, training and mentoring of scientists, and the fostering of public-private partnerships, as per the NIAID.

“This bilateral Indo-US partnership has yielded several success stories, including the research, development, manufacturing, and deployment of India’s first indigenous and low-cost vaccine, ROTAVAC, which prevents infection with the most common strain of rotavirus circulating in India,” it says.

The “focused bilateral collaborative programme” is a joint venture of the government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the NIAID of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA.

It aims to support novel vaccine research, human immunology, vaccine-related technologies, translational research and other activities of “shared scientific interest supported jointly by both sides”, as per DBT.

India and the US hold a joint working group meeting for experts and policymakers from both countries to exchange knowledge and oversights.

During the visit of the DBT delegation to the US, a ‘Rama-Robbins Lecture’ was organised in the remembrance of late Prof V Ramalingaswami, former national professor and late Prof Fred Robbins, former chairman of VAP JWG.

“The lecture is an engaging talk on a subject of scientific relevance to both the countries delivered by an eminent personality in the field of health sciences,” as per DBT.

This year, the lecture was delivered by Dr Fauci on ‘Pandemic Preparedness and Lessons from COVID-19’.

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