The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science & Technology has been supporting the research on Dengue vaccine in a major way. This is being done in collaboration with the Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) and the Vaccine Grand Challenge Programme (VGCP).
Efforts have been supported for the development of safe, efficacious and inexpensive dengue vaccine and continued support will be provided based on review of the programme and the milestones achieved, according to Y.S.Chowdhury, Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences.
A major project on â€œDevelopment of envelope domain III â€“based dengue virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidatesâ€œ has been implemented at New Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB) at a total cost of Rs.429.41 lakhs in March, 2016.
Under this, promising candidates were developed that elicited protective immune response in mice. The Dengue Subunit Vaccine Tetravalent (DSV) vaccine candidates have been transferred to Industry for further development. Also the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise of DBT supported project on â€˜Optimization and characterization of a Virosome Vaccine for Dengueâ€ with a total cost of Rs.89.19 lakhs for a period of two years, to induce a balanced immunity against all four dengue virus serotypes. The project will go to further studies subsequent to establishment of immunogenicity for the tetravalent vaccine in the present proposal.
As and when the candidates are ready for the dengue vaccine trials, the Government will explore the possibility of supporting the trials through inter-ministerial sources and other international agencies.
Dengue outbreaks have been taking a heavy toll in India, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the past several years. Thousands of people develop highly debilitating dengue every year and many deaths are reported due to dengue-related complications which results in a sharp fall in blood platelets. Dengue is mosquito-borne disease. This mosquito thrives in fresh water near human habitation. “