A Kolkata based National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) inked an MoU with Hilleman labs, for further development and commercialization of the Shigella Vaccine and other enteric vaccines for diarrheal diseases. The agreement was signed as an effort of Hilleman Labs mission to make affordable and accessible vaccines for the developing world.
At the signing-in, Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Labs said, "Shigella is the second most fatal organism after Rotavirus that causes severe diarrhea in children with no approved vaccine available at this time. We are pleased at this opportunity to
collaborate with NICED and jointly develop Shigella vaccine for a disease whose basic pathology is not yet properly understood."
Dr. Shanta Dutta Director, NICED said, "Vaccines are the most, simple, powerful and cost-effective health intervention and an effective public health tool. Our association with Hilleman Labs is in alignment with NICED's mission to identify enteric infections, initiate appropriate multidisciplinary research and develop strategies for treatment, control and prevention of enteric infections."
"Till now Shigella infection was treated with antibiotics and currently there is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. We look forward to this as a strong partnership aspiring to unlock new knowledge behind the enteric disease like shigellosis and to come up with appropriate and effective preventive tool against this disease.", she added.
Shigellosis the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in under five children with bloody diarrhea worldwide, especially affecting low income developing countries of Africa and South Asia. According to the 2015 Global Burden of Disease report, 1.3 million deaths related to diarrhea occur not only in children but adults as well across the world. Out of these, India had the highest mortality rates with 500,000 deaths in children less than 5 years of age. India’s population is severely affected by water borne diseases. Poor quality of water, hygiene and sanitation results in 30.5 million disabilities adjusted life years in India. While the Government of India is working towards improving these basic needs, the vaccine industry is contributing to public health by developing vaccines for various pathogens: Shigella, adenovirus, Campylobacter & E. coli which are identified to cause diarrhea.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan Director General of ICMR and Secretary, Department of Health Research - Ministry of Health and Family Welfare added by saying, “India has immense potential in clinical research, drug and device manufacturing and we would like to see more of these partnerships within the country to realize the ‘Make in India' dream. We are keen that ICMR becomes more collaborative and partners with organizations in this direction and mutually expand capacities through cross-functional partnerships".
In addition to understanding the role of NICED better with Hilleman Laboratories, Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories said,’ The good thing about this collaboration is that we can offer our expertise in vaccine development to the work that is done at NICED and quickly accelerate the process of development of the vaccine, so that within the next year we can bring the vaccine from research stage to clinical trials.”