Updated on 17 August 2012
Providing support are the multilateral agencies like UNAIDS, USAID, and WHO among others, who play the role of being global mentors and funding sources. Among research institutes, newly formed Translational Health Sciences and Technology Institute (THSTI) is involved deeply in joint research efforts along with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).
Besides the domestic programme, India has been providing around 80 percent of global ARV drug demand. India, China and South Africa were applauded for their efforts to control HIV / AIDS at the last year's BRICS countries conference on health. Mr Gulam Nabi Azad, minister of health and family welfare, India, revealed that, "During the last decade in India, HIV infections have declined by 56 percent from 2.7 lakh in 2000-to-1.2 lakh in 2009 in our country."
Synergy and speeding up is the key
India is now beginning to extend the gains achieved from its global primacy in the area of vaccine manufacturing to its innovative work on other crucial aspects of vaccine R&D and beginning to indigenously do R&D on several novel vaccines that have either been commercialized or are nearing commercialization.
According to Margaret Mc Glynn, president & CEO, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), "Developing nations like India have to play more significant role in the vaccine development. So far few programmes like RV-144 vaccine candidate trials in Thailand where more that 15,000 healthy volunteers were involved, have shown good response. Now the focus must be on the commercialization. Momentum must be kept at a pace that is exemplary. Besides that 20 neutralizing antibodies have been identified."
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, former president of India, believes that an autonomous organization engaged in creating synergy for the efforts funded by the government, can help in achieving more in less time. He suggested an apex body to review various programmes from time to time.
Policy makers at present are focusing on articulating a road map amongst policy makers, scientists, researchers, multilateral organizations and community experts on the multifaceted approach to HIV vaccine development. However, what is required on priority, is an environment that promotes sustained, well funded, innovative research to capitalize on new scientific insights.