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DBT And IAVI Forge Partnership To Develop Next Generation Vaccine Candidates

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative signed an agreement today to address a major obstacle in AIDS vaccine development: the design of candidate vaccines to elicit neutralizing antibodies against HIV. A new Indian Medicinal Chemistry Programme, co-sponsored and co-funded by IAVI and the Department of Biotechnology, will comprise top Indian and U.S. scientists tasked with accelerating the pace of AIDS vaccine discovery and developing creative concepts for the next generation of AIDS vaccines.

Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Shri. Kapil Sibal said that vaccine research is so critical that the Health Ministry and the Science and Technology Ministry have joined hands to provide the effort the support it needs.

Indias Department of Biotechnology is delighted to be a part of the global search for an efficacious AIDS vaccine. This was stated by Dr. Maharaj K. Bhan, Secretary, DBT. He said only through these kinds of biotechnology ventures involving international collaborations and the sharing of scientific knowledge, can we hope to solve the complex biomedical problems of our times.

According to Seth Berkley, CEO and President of IAVI, this new partnership will broaden ongoing efforts in India to find an AIDS vaccine.

The Indian Programme will complement the work of IAVIs Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC), a team of internationally recognized scientists working on the neutralizing antibody challenge. Researchers believe an ideal AIDS vaccine must evoke an antibody response that can block HIV from entering healthy cells, as well as reduce the amount of viral dissemination through a cell-mediated immune response to HIV-infected cells. Yet today, virtually all current vaccine candidates in the pipeline are based on cell-mediated immune responses alone, failing to target the second cr
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