The European Union and India will collaborate in research and innovation for developing a next generation influenza vaccine to protect people worldwide and they have earmarked about ₹240 crore for the project, an EU statement said. The EU and the Indian government’s Department of Biotechnology have committed 15 million Euros each to fund this joint project. The EU is funding is under its program for research and innovation Horizon 2020, the statement said. In total, 30 million Euros (approximately ₹240 crore) has been earmarked for research and innovation actions which aim at advancing the efficacy, safety, duration of immunity, and reactivity against an increased breadth of influenza strains, it said.
The joint effort also aims to develop cost-effective and affordable influenza vaccine rapidly without compromising quality, the statement said. “Keeping this in mind, the participating consortia need to bring together multi-disciplinary stakeholders who can represent any part of the chain from lab to market,” it said. The decision for joint action was launched today in the presence of Ambassador of the European Union to India Tomasz Kozlowski, and Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Renu Swarup. “This joint call is another demonstration of the increased cooperation between the EU and India as committed by the leaders during the Summit in October 2017. In engaging jointly on this topic, India and the EU are contributing to an important global public health challenge,” Kozlowski said.
“Improved influenza vaccines would help the international community to better prepare in the event of an influenza pandemic,” he said. The outcome of the project is expected to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure health and well-being for all and boost the Indian National Health Mission, the EU statement said. Addressing seasonal flu vaccination is also high on the EU health agenda with the European Commission urging EU member states to commit to vaccinating 75 percent of risk groups against seasonal flu each year, it said. The projects require minimum three applicants from Europe (three different EU member states) or countries associated to the EU program Horizon 20202) and minimum three applicants from India. The projects are also Open to the World and thus applicants from other countries can join the EU-India consortia. – Business Standard