Home Monkeypox ICMR floats tender to develop monkeypox vaccine

ICMR floats tender to develop monkeypox vaccine

by Vaishali Sharma

The Central Government has requested Expressions of Interest (EOI) in creating a vaccine against the monkeypox virus, only days after instances were confirmed in areas of India.

The government issued an EoI for the development of a monkeypox vaccine and diagnostic kits through a public-private collaboration. The Centre has invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) from experienced vaccine manufacturers and in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) kit manufacturers for joint collaboration in developing a vaccine candidate against monkeypox and diagnostic kits for this infection.

The last date for submission of EoI is August 10.

The objective of the tender read, “ICMR is willing to make available Monkeypox Virus strain/isolates for undertaking R&D, validation as well as manufacturing activities using characterized isolates of Monkeypox virus under the joint collaboration in the public-private partnership mode for the following two activities- 2.1 Development of vaccine candidate against Monkeypox disease. 2.2 Development of diagnostic kits for diagnosis of Monkeypox virus infection.”

The Monkeypox virus has been identified at the ICMR-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV), Pune, one of the Institutes of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, and is being propagated on specified cell lines under biosafety laboratory settings. These isolates were purified and described further. Tissue culture infective dosage (TCID50) has been calculated, and bulk propagation of the viral stock has been accomplished, according to the tender document.

All Intellectual Property Rights and Commercialization Rights on Monkeypox virus isolates and their methods/protocols for purification, propagation, and characterization were reserved by ICMR. The tender copy stated that ICMR is legally entitled to enter into non-exclusive agreements with experienced Drug/Pharma/Vaccine/IVD manufacturers through defined agreements for undertaking R&D as well as manufacturing activities using characterised Monkeypox virus isolates of ICMR for development of vaccine against Monkeypox disease or Diagnostic kit for diagnosis of Monkeypox virus, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Product(s).’

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued the highest level of warning for monkeypox, declaring the virus a public health emergency of worldwide significance (PHEIC).

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. The disease is endemic in regions like West and Central Africa but lately, cases have been reported from non-endemic countries too, according to the WHO.

In India, a 34-year-old man from Delhi with no history of foreign travel tested positive for monkeypox on Sunday, taking the country’s tally of cases to four. Three cases of monkeypox were earlier reported in Kerala.

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