The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with the Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India signed a MoU with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea to collaborate on vaccine research and development in the recently held tripartite meeting.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Dr Jerome H Kim, Director General of IVI.

IVI has been partnering with Indian vaccine manufacturers, research institutes, and public health agencies on vaccine development, research, and training. One of the most successful collaborations was with Shantha Biotech on the development of Shanchol, the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine. The vaccine was licensed in India in 2009 and WHO-prequalified in 2011. IVI successfully collaborated with health authorities in Odisha State to introduce the oral cholera vaccine for the first time in India in 2011. In addition, IVI has collaborated with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata on research and training projects, including the establishment of a vaccine evaluation lab at NICED.

The partnership will promote further collaborative research activities and training programs between India and IVI and will ensure IVI achieves its goal of improving health outcomes for the world’s poor by improving vaccine access. It will also accelerate capacity-building initiatives that will synergize with and benefit India’s vaccine industry, public health and immunization programmes.

IVI has successful partnerships with international organizations like WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. These partnerships are used to ensure adequate production of vaccines, stockpile and prequalification of vaccines.