The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with the Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India signed a MoU with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea to collaborate on vaccine research and development in the recently held tripartite meeting. The Memorandum of Understanding will strengthen the relationship between IVI and India.
The MOU was signed between Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR & Secretary, Department of Health Research; 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 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.
IVI has been partnering with Indian vaccine manufacturers, research institutes, government, and public health agencies on vaccine development, research, and training. 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.
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.
Speaking 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", he further added.
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."
It is worth mentioning that 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.