India is today a leading Vaccine Manufacturing Hub
The Vaccine Grand Challenge Programme is under implementation to encourage novel and innovative vaccine related discoveries, accelerated development of candidate vaccines for which earlier leads are available, research of basic & applied nature to improvise current understanding of vaccine science and to strengthen the scientific basis for future vaccine design. R&D projects supported through VGCP are focusing on Development of candidate vaccines & Development of vaccine related technologies. Some major initiatives are:
Rotavirus vaccine: The first indigenous Rotavirus Vaccine from an Indian strain 116E has been indigenously developed. The rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech under the Public Private Partnership mode is efficacious in preventing severe rotavirus diarrhoea in low-resource settings in India. ROTAVAC significantly reduced severe rotavirus diarrhoea by more than half 56 percent during the first year of life, with protection continuing into the second year of life. Moreover, the vaccine also showed impact against severe diarrhoea of any cause. The developed Rotavirus Vaccine at $1 per dose has been cleared for market license. The vaccine has the potential to prevent more than500K childhood diarrheal deaths. The NTAGI of M/o Health & FW has approved introduction of the vaccine in EPI in a pilot mode.
Malaria Vaccine: To promote the development of vaccines against P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria, Department has provided continued support to MVDP (Malaria Vaccine Development programme) A consortium of DBT, ICGEB, Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), PATH, EMVI and WHO TDR. Currently MVDP is involved with development of malaria vaccine JAIVAC1 & JAIVAC 2 at ICGEB.
Infrastructure for diagnosis & treatment of human genetic disorders significantly augmented in India
A major flagship programme on International Cancer Genome (ICG) specific to Oral Cancer is under implementation
India Bio-design makes new advances
Technology for ‘A Portable Hand Sanitization device’ transferred to M/s. Observe Design Private Limited, New Delhi.
Major Multi-Institutional Effort on Pre-Term Birth launched
Pre-term Birth Program is the first inter-institutional program on maternal infant health and spontaneous pre-term birth sciences in India funded by the Department under Grand Challenge Program at a total cost of the project is Rs 48.85 crore for a period of 5 years. It envisages a multidisciplinary research effort to predict & diagnose Preterm Birth (PTB) by enhancing the knowledge of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. It is expected that the clinically relevant research outputs from the study will aid characterization of biological, clinical and epidemiological risk factors to achieve appropriate risk stratification of mothers who may deliver before term. These in turn would provide a basis for discovery of novel therapeutic agents & determine appropriate timing for their clinical application. Together, it would strengthen the commitment of the Department of Biotechnology to health equity, contributing significantly to reduction in infant and maternal mortality.
The first indigenously developed and widely standardized tool for screening and assessment of dyslexia was developed by the National Brain Research Centre was released by the Hon’ble Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in October, 2015.