The United States has announced a funding of USD 122 million to top three Indian medical research institutions to prevent avoidable epidemics, early detection of disease threats, and rapid and effective response. The total funding of USD 122,475,000 will, over a period of five years, be distributed to the three top Indian health research institutions — Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), National Institute of Virology (NIV) and National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE).
Announced by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday, the fund will accelerate the progress towards an India which is safe and secure from infectious disease threats through ICMR institutions’ focus on emerging and re-emerging pathogens. Prominent among these include detecting and controlling zoonotic disease outbreaks through a ‘one health’ approach; evaluating vaccine safety monitoring systems; capacitating the public health workforce in field epidemiology and outbreak response; and combating antimicrobial resistance, a media release said. CDC said ICMR is in a unique position to conduct this work, as it was originally established as an apex body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research in India, and has taken up most of the laboratory-based surveillance of infectious diseases in recent years.
Eligibility for funding beginning September 30, 2022 is limited to ICMR, and ICMR institutions, including the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Chennai.ICMR is the apex governing body for numerous national level institutes which are centres for excellence and reference in specific scientific area for India, namely National Institute of Virology, National Institute of Epidemiology, and several others.
These institutions are mandated by the Ministry of Health of Family Health and Welfare (MoHFW) to provide an oversight for laboratory confirmation of priority pathogens in India in a tiered manner as well as collate and analyze surveillance data for public health actions and work closely with the state governments where these institutes are located, the release added.