As a breakthrough in HIV research, India is all set to launch the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) to develop HIV/AIDS vaccine. In the backdrop of an international symposium on HIV prevention and research, commemorated by Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Union Minister for Science and Technology, the proposal was announced by the minister. In this initiative, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) collaborates with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).
The molecular biotechnology research institute was proposed with an initial amount of Rs. 70 crore and funds are to be used exclusively for the infrastructure, analytical instruments and vaccine development. The proposed research institute will be started in Faridabad and the scientists will exploit all molecular mechanisms of HIV infection to develop the HIV vaccine. The lab will have all the analytical instruments that meet the international technical and research standards. The research institute will focus on the core areas of HIV vaccine design in coordination with IAVI and Neutralizing Antibody Consortium, a multinational funded autonomous research institute.
According to Dr. M K Bhan, secretary, DBT, the proposed center will employ state-of-art and cutting-edge technologies in translation research and molecular biotechnology to bring a breakthrough in HIV vaccines. However, the scientists were not able to fix a deadline to accomplish the task and patience with competent knowledge are important for the research, he said.
The translation research institute will be expected to kick start within six months, with a team of eminent scientists from India and IAVI. The projects will be designed to explore the key concepts of vaccine development based on the available scientific literature and the research center will support extra-mural research facilities based on outstanding proposals in the core area of research, to moot up the research. The projects will be funded jointly by DBT and IAVI.
The research will be conducted with four to five foreign scientists and collaborative support will be extended by Neutralizing Antibody Consortium, President and CEO of IAVI, Dr. Margret McGlynn said.
The proposed laboratory will generate a variety of haptogens, immunogens, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies and exploit the use of these bioactive substances in HIV vaccines. These immunological mediators can elicit an immune response against viral antigens or neutralize the antigens by forming antigen-antibody complex, after immunization.
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