Updated on 17 August 2012
International AIDS symposium held in New Delhi
New Delhi: The 'International Symposium on Accelerating India's Response to Research for a Preventive HIV Vaccine', which was held in New Delhi this week saw a large number of parliamentarians, ministers and scientists deliberating on the achievements on AIDS research outcomes.
The main objective of the symposium was to devise ways to sustain the momentum that India has achieved as a center of excellence in HIV research.
The new science and technology minister, Mr Vayalar Ravi, opined that India is set to lead the discovery efforts given its foray in the research and manufacturing. He said that, "Scientists in India need to collaborate with the researchers across the world. It is the duty of political leaders, research agencies to step up efforts with each others help and support."
The symposium was hosted by the ministry of science and technology (S&T) in partnership with forum of parliamentarians for HIV/AIDS and ministry of health and family welfare. The event saw the presence of close to 300 attendees with unique blend of executive and legislative leadership with policymakers and key opinion leaders. Also present were civil society organizations and scientists from public and private sector institutions from India, who are working in the area of HIV vaccine research and also included 12 key global scientific experts.
Beacon of hope
Globally close to 30 AIDS vaccine clinical trials are ongoing, preominantly in early phases I and II stages. The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) is currently testing one vaccine concept in a phase IIb efficacy trial, combining two vaccine candidates (DNA and adenovirus serotype 5-based). Results are expected in 2013. The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and its partners are testing two new experimental vaccine combinations, results of whom are expected in the end of 2012.
In India, there are many key collaborative programs on HIV vaccine research in the field of biomedical tools such as microbicides, anti-retrovial therapy (ARTs) and vaccines supported by the government. Various key government agencies such as Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Health Research (DHR), and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) are spearheading joint efforts for vaccine development.