Vaccine Research and Development

Vaccine Action Programme

The Department of Biotechnology has made concerted efforts in strengthening vaccine research and development since its inception in 1986-87 through various endeavours. Currently, major efforts are being implemented through the National Expert Groups and Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme.

The Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) is a bilateral program of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India; and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA under implementation since July 1987. The VAP has been recognized internationally and considered as model bilateral programme in biomedical research area The programme was extended for period of five years (up to 2022) through signing of Joint Statement by Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, DBT and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director, NIAID, NIH, USA.


Vaccine programme encourages novel and innovative vaccine related discoveries, accelerated development of candidate vaccines for which earlier leads are available, research of basic & applied nature to improvise our current understanding of vaccine science and strengthens the scientific basis for future vaccine design.

Main Areas of Focus under VAP

  • Priorities under VAP currently include: dengue, enteric diseases, influenza (including avian influenza), malaria, and tuberculosis (TB)
  • The program has been further expanded to include initiatives focused on TB clinical research and human immunology
  • Additional areas of interest include research on chikungunya vaccines, infant immunology and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Major Initiatives

Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) Collaboration

The goal of this funding program is to promote India-US collaborative research on human immunophenotyping in the context of infectious disease and vaccine development, and in collaboration with investigators of the HIPC (Human Immunology Project Consortium). In response to the last Joint RFA projects have been supported encompassing immunological studies focused on analysis of the follicular helper T cell repertoire in flavivirus infection and vaccination, trained immunity in HBV infected infants,Human B cell responses and receptor repertoire in dengue patients from India, Immune Signatures of BCG Vaccination at Birth and Revaccination in Young Adulthood and Systems Vaccinology of the Vi Conjugate Typhoid Vaccine in Infants.

Regional Prospective Observational Research for Tuberculosis –RePORT INDIA Initiative

RePORT India is a bi-lateral multi-organizational collaborative effort designed to advance regional basic and clinical tuberculosis (TB) science in India. The goal of this program is to establish long term longitudinal cohorts of TB patients in India to strengthen TB research capacity and infrastructure, and foster research collaboration within India and with other countries.

The RePORT Consortium is comprised of research organizations in India with their U.S.-based partners and consists of seven distinct TB cohorts mainly in Southern India working in collaboration to address a wide array of scientific objectives and to institute a unified common prospective observational research protocol (Common Protocol) that is supported by a central Biorepository, a central data management centre. It aims at the utilization of harmonized data elements and specimen collection standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Outcome of last 5 years

The Vaccine Programmes have demonstrated major achievements like the lowest cost Rotavirus vaccine which became part of the universal immunization programme& major strides towards vaccine for diseases like malaria & dengue. One out of every 6 children over the world receive vaccines manufactured in India

The first indigenous low cost Rotavirus Vaccine from an Indian strain 116E efficacious in preventing severe rotavirus diarrhea in low-resource settings in India has been introduced in 9 states namely Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as a part of India’s Universal immunization Programme. The ROTAVAC® has been granted WHO prequalification in 2018.

Several other leads in Vaccine Development.

  • Malaria Vaccine: Vaccine for falciparum malaria is under toxicology assessment (JAIVAC 2) and vaccine for vivax malaria has completed phase I trial (JAIVAC1).
  • Dengue Vaccine: The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) is collaboration with drug major Sun Pharma to use the recombinant EDIII- based sub-unit dengue vaccine candidate to develop an injectible vaccine that protects against all four dengue strains are endemic to India. The team is presently optimizing the production process and are expected to initiate clinical trial in the near future. Also a Live attenuated Dengue Vaccine candidate licensed from NIH is being supported
  • Development of Chikungunya, Influenza, and Cholera vaccine candidates is also being supported.
  • Development of Candidate Vaccines: An expert Indo-US Candidate Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC) has been established to support VAP’s mission. Meetings have been organized and 9 candidate vaccines have been reviewed and endorsed under VAP. These are vaccines for dengue (2), TB (2), Chikungunya (1), RSV (1), and Zika (1), Influenza (2). CVAC is also steering generation of Epidemiological data for Flavivirus in India.


Call for Proposal for current FY or New Programme Launched

  • RFA issued in Nov. 2017 for Implementation of Phase-II of Indo-US Bilateral Collaborative Research Grants on Human Immune Phenotyping and Infectious Disease by DBT and NIAID and under this imitative five projects have been recommended for financial support by DBT and NIH
  • RFA published to invite the applications from interested scientists for consideration of financial support under 2nd phase of CRPF Indo-U.S.Vaccine action program (VAP) initiative on tuberculosis (TB) Research: Regional Prospective Observational Research Fortuberculosis- Report India

Contacts Concerned Officer for more information

Programme HeadDr Alka Sharma, Scientist G
Phone 011-24363699
Programme OfficerDr Jyoti Malik Logani, Scientist E
Attached OfficerDr. Kamakshi Chaithri P, Scientist C