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DBT calls for proposals to develop vaccines for Coronavirus, Nipah, Pox virus, Zika virus, among others

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Friday, December 30, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has invited proposals from eligible researchers or organisations to conduct time-bound, outcome-oriented proposals to develop vaccine candidates for viral pathogens such as Coronavirus, PAN-Coronavirus, Pox virus, Zika virus, Nipah virus, Kyasanur Forest Disease virus, PAN-Henipavirus, among others.

The scope of the call includes development of new and improved vaccine candidates based on emerging platforms, development of research resources such as high quality well characterised preclinical animal models for diseases; development of assay systems for assessment of vaccine induced immune responses; identification of markers for quantification of antibody responses; establishment of reverse genetics systems; and strategies for future vaccine development.

The scope also includes rational approaches to antigen selection and multi-epitope vaccine design and process optimisation for scale-up and good manufacturing practices (GMP) complied manufacturing of proven vaccine technologies. The call for proposal opens on December 22, 2022 and closes on January 20, 2023.

Calling for the proposals, the DBT said that vaccines are one of the major cost-effective interventions in the global public health space. The importance of vaccines is underscored by global eradication of smallpox and the near elimination of polio through vaccination.

Globally, efforts are underway for development of: Novel platform-based vaccines for emerging infectious diseases; improved adjuvant technologies; development of well-characterized animal models for pre-clinical testing; development of immunotherapeutic vaccines for non-communicable diseases such as cancers and allergies.

Focused efforts over the past few decades have enabled development of promising vaccine candidates for infectious diseases such as Cholera, Influenza, Dengue, Chikungunya, Pneumococcal disease, Rabies, etc., which are in various stages of development.

However, in the last few decades, a number of infectious diseases have emerged from wildlife or re-emerged, posing a serious public health threat.

“Having enhanced indigenous capabilities in the field of vaccine development for priority pathogens of national and global importance is a pre-requisite in ensuring preparedness against such infectious threats,” said the Department.

In view of the same, and in alignment with the World Health Organization (WHO) R&D Blueprint, as well as, the National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2021-25, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) invites Proposals on “Development of Candidate Vaccines and Allied Research Resources for Diseases of National Priority”, it added.

Any Indian National holding a regular position in a Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) recognised Indian academic and/or scientific institution may apply. Eligible Organisations: Central Govt. Institutions/State Govt. Institutions/Private Institutions of higher education and research; recognised by DSIR. Private institutions/NGOs should also be registered with DARPAN Portal of NITI Aayog.

Applications would be evaluated for scientific and technical merit as per the DBT Competitive Research Grant System guidelines. Briefly, the criteria would be originality of the proposed research; proven record of appropriate experience and training of the investigators; well-reasoned strategy and methodology; robust work plan; well- articulated proposal; requisite institutional infrastructure and support facilities. Proposals received will be screened and short-listed for funding support by the Technical Expert Committee/DBT Apex Board, as per the Competitive Research Grant System Guidelines (CRGS) of DBT, said the Department.

Interested investigators should submit project proposals online only through the DBT electronic project management system, it added.


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