India is all set to sign an agreement with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) situated in Seoul, capital of South Korea. The union cabinet has given its assent to the move.
The agreement will encourage cooperation between India and the IVI. The country would now be able to play a role in the formulation of all international policies related to vaccines.
The IVI is an International Organization established at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme under the Vienna Convention of 1969 with the signatures so far of 38 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO).
A major IVI strength is capacity building in vaccine research, development, production and regulation in developing countries, it has been stated.
It collaborates with the WHO and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in setting priorities, defining strategies, and undertaking needed vaccine-related activities.
It has established collaborative networks throughout Asia and elsewhere for studies of vaccines, which integrate the relevant disciplines of epidemiology, clinical trials, economic analysis, behavioral science, and policy analysis.
Only recently the IVI scientists developed a new laboratory animal model for shigellosis with guinea pigs in a study that could speed up the development of a vaccine against Shigella dysentery, a major cause of diarrheal deaths in developing countries.
Shigellosis is estimated to infect around 160 million people and kill one million worldwide every year.
The signing of the Agreement does not have any financial implication for the Government of India.
On the other hand, it will enable the country to provide relevant inputs to the direction and priorities of the IVI, which would be beneficial to India, officials said.