EU, India to work together to develop influenza vaccine

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New Delhi : The European Union (EU) and India, on Tuesday, announced that they will engage for research and innovation to develop a next-generation influenza vaccine to protect citizens worldwide.

"In total, EUR 30 million (or approximately Rs 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," an official from the Office of EU in India said.

The official said that both the EU and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), government of India, have committed approximately Rs 120 crore each to fund this joint call.

The call was made in the presence of Ambassador of the European Union to India Tomasz Kozlowski and Dr Renu Swarup, the Secretary for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

"These joint efforts also aim to develop cost-effective and affordable influenza vaccine rapidly without compromising quality," the EU official said.

"To achieve this aim, the participating consortia need to bring together multi-disciplinary stakeholders who can represent any part of the chain from lab to market," the official added.

On the occasion, Ambassador of the European Union, said: "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. Improved influenza vaccines would help the international community to better prepare in the event of an influenza pandemic."

The call will remain open till April 16, 2019. The projects require a minimum of three applicants from Europe and three from India. This call is also open to the world and thus applicants from other countries can join the EU-India consortia.