India signs vaccine development treaty with IVI, South Korea

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Department of Health and Family Welfare of health ministry have signed an agreement with the International Vaccine Institute to support vaccine development in India

Mr Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary & Managing Director, National Health Mission, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR & Secretary, Department of Health Research and Dr Jerome H Kim, Director General of IVI, at the MoU signing ceremony to support vaccine development on 21st August in New Delhi.

New Delhi: 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) have signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea to collaborate on vaccine research and development.

With a long history of scientific collaboration with IVI, India officially became a signatory to the 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.

The 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. The 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.

Image 2The 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 International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea.

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 accelerate capacity-building initiatives that will synergize 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 IVI as 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 in the 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.