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Impact of the programmes

To date, several vaccine programmes have been in priority areas of viral hepatitis (e.g., hepatitis C), typhoid, rabies, rotavirus diarrhea, acute respiratory infections (e.g., genetics of respiratory syncytial virus), tuberculosis, parasitic diseases (leishmaniasis, malaria), HIV co-morbidities, streptococcal infections, and dengue. The rotavirus vaccine development project has led to the development and testing of an Indian rotavirus vaccine candidate in a large-scale clinical trial in India.

In addition, VGCP and VAP has played an important role in:

  • Augmenting the indigenous vaccine production industry in India, creating an FDA-like agency to oversee quality control of vaccines and other biologicals, establishing a CDC-like agency for epidemiologic surveillance of diseases, and generally upgrading India’s scientific capabilities
  • Creating strong bilateral linkages, critical infrastructure, and other facilities in a number of Indian laboratories
  • Sponsoring conferences and workshops to promote new areas of research collaboration
  • Training nearly 500 Indian scientists in cutting-edge vaccine development technologies
  • Publishing over 250 scientific articles in Indian and international journals

The VAP has attracted international agencies and stakeholders to pursue their own efforts in developing countries. For example, the rotavirus vaccine trial is partially supported with $44 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH. Likewise, the malaria vaccine project also attracted international funding of $2.95 million from the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) to develop vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax.

Within India, the VAP & VGCP has encouraged interactions among leading national and international scientists, health policy makers and government officials. They have helped resolve issues related to India’s regulatory framework, intellectual property rights (IPR), the introduction of new vaccines into immunization programmes, and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for vaccine production.

In the country, VAP also helped to create an inter-ministerial health research forum, which has involved all key stakeholders, including Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Drug Controller General of India, Planning Commission, Department of Health Research, Indian Council of Medical Research, and the Ministry of External Affairs.It also facilitated interaction with international expert groups to assist with crucial decisions about the development of Indian vaccines for national and international use. Vaccine workshops, projects and training opportunities have encouraged the scientific enterprise in India at multiple levels. Based, in part, on its rich experience with U.S. institutions through the VAP, the DBT has now established several technology-driven institutions in India.