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An International Science Symposium on Accelerating India’s Response to Research for a Preventive HIV Vaccine is being hosted by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology with the partnership of Forum of Parliamentarians for HIV/AIDS, Department of AIDS Control Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Health Research Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Translational Health Sciences and Technology Institute, Research Centre for Biotechnology and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

In the last decade, India has steadily emerged in the area of science, technology and innovation and made a successful transition from imitator to innovator. In its Decade of Innovation: 2010-20, India is also attracting global R&D activities in upstream research even as scientific research and international collaboration becomes an integral part of the economic and innovation policy cycle in the country’s globalization strategy. A dynamic regulatory and policy environment is helping expand capacity as new centers of excellence provide platforms for the development of vaccines for other critical diseases. 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 research and development and beginning to indigenously research and develop several novel vaccines that have either been commercialised or are nearing commercialisation. In the area of HIV Vaccine research, in particular, India’s rich pool of skilled scientists, medical professionals and a thriving pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry are allowing the nation to play a much larger role in global HIV Vaccine research and development. The Government of India has taken several initiatives—including key collaborative programs—to take India to the forefront of HIV Vaccine research in the field of biomedical tools such as Microbicides, ARTs and Vaccines. The Government of India (GOI) recognizes that an effective vaccine against AIDS must be a part of an integrated program for prevention, care, support and treatment. Given the country’s growing disease burden, HIV Vaccine research is a priority. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has been one of the key enablers in this effort and has taken several initiatives to link scientists, students, teachers, industry and the public at large, to find creative solutions to fill funding shortfalls, to provide expert scientific knowledge to facilitate breakthroughs, and to partner with the international scientific community. While much of India’s measurable growth in health and biotech research in the recent past has taken place in numerous and scattered small institutions across the nation, the Government is today bringing together numerous autonomous and small centers into research in clusters of excellence.

Symposium Objectives

The main objectives of the Symposium include:

· Sustain the momentum India has achieved so far in its emergence as a Center of Excellence in HIV Research

· Complement its global leadership in vaccines as a whole by organising a scientific deliberation to enable a better understanding of the complexities of working in the field and recent advances and also help identify the future programmatic content and conduct in India in the field of HIV vaccine research and development.

· Provide a common platform to the participants from varied fields of basic and translational research from both academia and industry to deliberate on recent advances and identify approaches for end point research through collaborations and innovative concepts for vaccine development for HIV/AIDS.

· Deliberate the need for an environment that promotes sustained, well funded, innovative research to capitalize on new scientific insights.

Symposium Attendees (Approximately 300 in Nos)

· The meeting intends to be a unique blend of executive and legislative leadership with policymakers and key opinion leaders from

o Ministry of Science and Technology and its various Departments like Department of Biotechnology, DST and CSIR

o Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and its key relevant Departments like the Department of Health Research and The Department of AIDS Control

o Members of the Forum of Parliamentarians on HIV/AIDS

o Representatives from:

§ International Governments

§ Multilateral agencies like UNAIDS, USAID, WHO etc

§ Key civil society organizations working in India in the area of HIV/ AIDS

§ Key scientists from Public and Private Sector Institutions from India working in the area of Vaccine Research and HIV/AIDS

o 12 key global scientific experts.

Expected Outcomes

· Encourage deliberations and work towards articulating a road map amongst policy makers, scientists, researchers, multilateral organizations and community experts on the multifaceted approach to HIV vaccine development, and prioritize an Indian Roadmap for research in Prevention Tools of HIV especially a preventive HIV vaccine

· Highlight the continuous efforts taken by India in HIV Vaccine research and associated technologies, which has facilitated its emergence as a leader in this field

· Serve as a platform to engage Executive leadership and Legislature at the meeting towards prevention efforts needed in India for this disease. It shall also empower the community through consensus building with knowledge and a clear strategic mandate on current and future R&D efforts needed in discovery, technology development, product development and clinical development, which are relevant for India.

· Facilitate National and international co-operation and collaborations to harness modern scientific and technological advances for an HIV vaccine

· Facilitate future HIV vaccine design efforts globally and accelerate development of platform technologies, which can be translated to other infectious disease areas of public health importance in India through discussions among scientists and developers from both public and private sectors in India and globally, policymakers, key opinion leaders.

PIB Aizawl

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