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ICMR;Department of Health and Family Welfare of MOHFW sign MoU with International Vaccine Institute to support vaccine development in India

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Department of Health Research and the Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MOHFW), GOI signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) todaywith the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea to collaborate on vaccine research and development.  The MOU will alsostrengthen the relationship between IVI and India.

The MOU was signed between Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR& Secretary, Department of Health Research; Mr. Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary & Managing Director, National Health Mission and Dr. Jerome H. Kim, Director General of IVI.

With a long history of scientific collaboration with IVI, India officially became a signatorytothe treaty of the Seoul-based international organization in 2012.  IVI has 35 signatory countries. With this partnership, India is committing an annual contribution of US $5,00,000 to IVI and joins Sweden and South Korea as financially contributing signatories to IVI.

IVI has been partnering with Indian vaccine manufacturers, research institutes, government, and public health agencies on vaccine development, research, and training. One of the most successful collaborations was with Shantha Biotech on the development of Shanchol, the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine.  The vaccine was licensed in India in 2009 and WHO-prequalified in 2011.  IVI successfully collaborated with health authorities in Odisha State to introduce the oral cholera vaccine for the first time in India in 2011. In addition, IVI has collaborated with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata on research and training projects, including the establishment of a vaccine evaluation lab at NICED.

The partnership will promote further collaborative research activities and training programs between India and IVI and will ensure IVI achieves its goal of improving health outcomes for the world’s poor by improving vaccine access. It will also acceleratecapacity-building initiatives that willsynergize with and benefit India’s vaccine industry, public health and immunization programs.

IVI has successful partnerships with international organizations like WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. These partnerships are used to ensure adequate production of vaccines, stockpile and prequalification of vaccines.

On the occasion, Dr. Jerome H. Kim, Director General of IVI, said, “India is a vaccine industry powerhouse that supplies 60% of the world’s vaccines for vaccine preventable diseases and 60-80% of annual UN vaccine purchases (2012). The signing of the MoU is a continuation of our partnership with India to provide safe, effective and affordable vaccines for people around the world. With this agreement, India once again shows its capacity for leadership in global health,and we hope this action will add significant momentum to IVI’s drive for greater support in the world community. We look forward to having India’s representation on the IVI Board of Trustees which will increase engagement with Indian academia and industry even further.”

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR, said, “We have been working closely with IVI in India for more than a decade now. We are confident that this collaboration will elevate the vaccine R&D capacity at IVIas well as Indian labs and further benefit India’s vaccine industry.”

“We are pleased to make some financial contribution to help IVI achieve its mission. This partnership will help us better address the vaccine needs of our children inthe country and ultimately contribute to protecting people from infectious diseases,” said Manoj Jhalani,Additional Secretary and Managing Director of the National Health Mission (NHM), MOHFW.

About International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the world’s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established in 1997, IVI operates as an independent international organization under a treaty signed by 35 countries and the World Health Organization. The Institute conducts research in more than 20 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America on vaccines against enteric and diarrheal infections, Japanese encephalitis, MERS-CoV, and dengue fever, and develops new and improved vaccines at its headquarters in Seoul, Republic of Korea. For more information, please visit http://www.ivi.int.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

ICMR is the apex body in India for the formulation and coordination of biomedical research.  It is an autonomous body under the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India. ICMR’s research priorities coincide with the national health priorities towards prevention of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, improving reproductive and child health and nutrition, promoting basic medical sciences and drug research including traditional medicines. ICMR promotes biomedical research in the country through intramural and extramural research.

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