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The Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program (VAP) is a bilateral program, which supports a broad spectrum of activities relating to immunization and vaccine related research. Under the VAP, U.S. and Indian scientists carry out collaborative research projects directed toward development of vaccines or to address other issues which are important for vaccine research.
A Government-to-Government Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) led to the establishment of the VAP in July 1987. Since then, this agreement has been renewed every five years.
All work is carried out within areas designated as priorities by the VAP Joint Working Group (JWG), which is comprised of scientists and officials from both countries.
The “nodal agencies” for this cooperation are India’s Department of Biotechnology within its Ministry of Science and Technology, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Indian members of the JWG also constitute the “Apex Committee” in India and are appointed by the Prime Minister. As a committee appointed by the Prime Minister, the Apex Committee has the power to review and approve activities and projects on the Indian side.
Priorities under VAP currently include: dengue, enteric diseases, influenza, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB). The program has been further expanded to include initiatives focused on TB clinical research and human immunology. In 2012, VAP completed 25 years.
In March 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s first indigenous rotavirus vaccine – ROTOVAC (a vaccine for Rotavirus – the most common cause of diarrhea), which, in its early phase, started as a research cooperation under the VAP.