DBT launches program to strengthening clinical trial research capacity in neighboring countries

LMICs to build capacities for Covid-19 vaccine trials

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Clinical trial
Clinical trials are research studies performed on a set of people aimed at evaluating a medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention. Photo - Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India through the Ind-CEPI mission (India Centric Epidemic Preparedness) for Rapid Vaccine Development and Supporting Indian Vaccine Development, which is aligned with the Global Initiative of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), aims to strengthen the development of vaccines and associated competencies and technologies for the diseases of epidemic potential in India. One of the mission’s key focus areas is to support capacity building and regional networking with LMICs (Low and Middle-Income Countries).

In the current Covid-19 Pandemic situation, it is essential to build capacities for the vaccine’s clinical trials. Keeping with the principles outlined by our Science Diplomacy initiatives, DBT has initiated the first phase of the “Training program to strengthen clinical trial research capacity for neighboring countries” in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. These training’s objective would be to support researchers and investigator teams for enhancing and strengthening their clinical trial capabilities for conducting clinical trials in compliance with ICH-GCP (International Conference on Harmonization – Good clinical practice). Through this training program and knowledge sharing efforts, Govt of India is fulfilling its commitment of building various technical capacities in its neighboring countries. Efforts to network with South Asia, ASEAN, and African regions for this purpose would be aided through Ind-CEPI.

The First online orientation to this training program was conducted on 22 September 2020. Speaking on occasion, Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, DBT, and chairperson, BIRAC, said that building clinical trial capacity in our neighboring countries and all LMICs is a priority for the Department. This initiative is a step in the right direction under the Ind-CEPI mission. This will help our participating countries build capacities for vaccine trials and conduct Phase III trials for Covid-19 vaccines.

The training program, which will extend for about 6 to 8 weeks, will see investigators, epidemiologists, clinicians, and representatives from different departments from Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Srilanka, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Senior Representatives from all these countries attended the “Orientation to the training program” held on 22 September 2020. This was also attended by senior representatives from MEA, DBT, BIRAC, and CDSA.

DBT, under the Ministry of Science & Technology, promotes the use and application of biotechnology in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment, and industry.

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.

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