A look at growing Indo-US ties in bioscience public sector

India and America are partnering on few key projects related to bioscience. Here is a quick summary of the latest joint projects in the biotechnology, healthcare and specific disease areas

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The Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi addressing the Joint Session of U.S. Congress, in Washington DC, USA on June 08, 2016.

New Delhi: Since the visit of Mr Barack Obama, President of United States to India in January 2015, a lot many new initiatives are being spearheaded jointly by various government agencies of the two nations. While there are many new areas of cooperation that are being continuously explored at key official discussions, few of the key joint projects are listed below:

India Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Expansion

The United States and India decided to support expansion of the EIS to involve more National Institutes and other organizations as training centers under the coordination of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Cooperation

Health officials from both sides continued collaboration to combat AMR through the development and implementation of national action plans that detail multi-sectoral steps to prevent the emergence and spread of AMR in healthcare and community settings and the animal sector.  They also endorsed an expanded program of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and AMR research led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program.

Additionally, both sides decided to focus existing science and technology partnerships on countering AMR bacteria by promoting rational use of antimicrobials, enhancing hospital infection prevention and control, and ensuring the availability and quality of therapeutics.  Finally, both sides committed to continue to prioritize and address multiple drug resistant and extremely drug resistant tuberculosis.

President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

The United States and India reaffirmed their collaboration to address HIV and AIDS, confirmed their approval of the PEPFAR Strategy, and welcomed renewal of the bilateral arrangement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and India’s National AIDS Control Organization.

Cooperation in Cancer Research

The United States and India collaborate across a range of activities to advance cancer control. Both the countries are involved in many important research projects.

In June 2015, the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Biotechnology, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences signed a MoU with the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).  In March 2016, the first Joint Steering Committee met in New Delhi, and cooperation is ongoing through scientific exchange in cancer research and training that addresses various topics, including cancer screening implementation, research methods, and cancer education and prevention.

India continues to send delegations to the U.S. NCI and NCI-Designated Cancer Centers as it establishes an Indian National Cancer Institute.  There are also discussions to collaborate on cancer control planning programs.  Bilateral discussions on evaluating Indian traditional medicine systems for cancer treatment and palliation are also underway.

As per press statement issued from the White House on June 07, the economic and people-to-people ties form a key pillar for the growing U.S.-India Strategic Partnership. “Two-way trade and investment between our nations continue to reach new heights.  The two governments continue to expand existing cooperation and efforts as well as launch new initiatives to bring about mutual economic prosperity as well as to collaborate to address global challenges,” it said.