The US has announced a USD 122 million grant to the top three Indian medical research institutes to prevent preventable epidemics, detect disease risks early, and respond quickly and effectively.
The entire funding of USD 122,475,000 will be allocated over five years to the three leading Indian health research institutes: the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the National Institute of Virology (NIV), and the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE).
The fund, which was announced on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), would expedite progress toward an India free of infectious disease threats by focusing ICMR institutions on emerging and re-emerging diseases.
Detecting and controlling zoonotic disease outbreaks using a “one health” approach, evaluating vaccine safety monitoring systems, training the public health workforce in field epidemiology and outbreak response, and combating antimicrobial resistance are among the top priorities, according to a press release.
According to the CDC, the ICMR is in a unique position to carry out this work since it was founded as an apex agency for the creation, coordination, and promotion of biomedical research in India and has recently taken over most laboratory-based monitoring of infectious illnesses.
Beginning September 30, 2022, only ICMR and ICMR institutions, such as the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) in Chennai, are eligible for financing.
The ICMR is the governing organization for several national-level institutes that serve as centers of excellence and reference for India in various scientific fields, such as the National Institute of Virology, the National Institute of Epidemiology, and others.
The Ministry of Health and Family Health and Welfare (MoHFW) has mandated these institutions to provide tiered oversight for laboratory confirmation of priority pathogens in India, as well as collect and analyze surveillance data for public health actions and work closely with state governments where these institutes are located, according to the release.