India in the forefront of developing Covid-19 vaccines, says Dr Harsh Vardhan

India-Portugal Technology Summit2020


Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, informed the DST-CII India Portugal Technology Summit 2020, a flagship event with Portugal as a partner country, “In India, about 30 vaccines are in different stages of development. Two of them are in the most advanced stage of development – COVAXIN developed through ICMR-Bharat Biotech collaboration and COVISHIELD from the Serum Institute of India. Both are in the Phase-III clinical trial stage. Our premier institution – the Indian Council of Medical Research-is involved in their trial executions.

India is also hosting clinical trials for all the major vaccine contenders. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is conducting trials for the vaccine developed by Oxford University. Zydus Cadila is also conducting Ph2 trial of an indigenous DNA Vaccine. One of our pharma giants, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, will distribute the Russian vaccine in India after conducting final-stage human trials and receiving regulatory approval.”

The Science and Technology Minister disclosed that India is among the top ten countries globally concerning patents filed. Highlighting India’s efforts to fight the challenge of Covid, he said, “More than 100 start-ups supported by the Government have provided innovative products and solutions to overcome challenges posed by Covid-19.”

Vardhan stated, “The Summit is a reflection of the effective partnership between the Government and industry for developing a robust technology ecosystem for the country.” The Minister said, “The next iteration of this collaboration will be to encourage new solutions based on cutting edge technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence”. He dwelt on India-Portugal relations in various fields over long years. Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed the hope that the interactions offer a good opportunity for the participating companies to explore prospects for bilateral investments across healthcare, water, agriculture, energy, and Information Technologies.

Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Government of Portugal, who was the Guest of Honor delivered the Keynote Address said, “These are times of solidarity. Our ties with India are strong. We need to rely on knowledge to be out of this crisis together.”

Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, outlined that during all these years, the summit has facilitated co-creation of knowledge, two-way technology transfer, collaborative R&D projects, and enhanced market access between India and the partner country’s industry and research institutes. He said that the science and technology ecosystem has blossomed in India by gradually increasing its policy regime. This impetus has been ably supported by the years of economic reforms and landmark initiatives.

Over the past 26 years, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has been co-organizing the Technology Summit in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The summit has benefitted the Indian industry and academic and research institutions immensely by forging collaborations with global partners, including policymaking that has triggered the private sector’s investment in R&D and technology significantly. Spain, South Korea, the UK, and Italy have also participated in the past summits.

The objectives of this summit are- a) Forge partnerships; b) Boost innovation, investment and trade, and c) Facilitate technology transfers, joint projects, and market access. It is expected that the summit will achieve:

  • Launch of an ambitious bilateral knowledge and innovation agenda.
  • New Public-Private Partnerships between India and Portugal.
  • Opportunities for fast-tracked market entry for new stakeholders.
  • Market expansion opportunities for existing Indian and Portugal stakeholders.
  • Deepening Indo-Portugal ties in multiple verticals of the knowledge economy.
  • Scaling up solutions for societal challenges.
  • Foster Investments and market understanding and penetrations.
  • Collaborative research and Human Resource exchange.
  • A large number of technology tie-ups between Indian Industry and Research Institutions.
  • The signing of MoUs- charting the roadmap for strengthening future collaborations.

The focus sectors this year area) Agritech; b) Watertech; c) Healthtech; d) Cleantech, energy, climate change; e) IT/ICT/ Emerging technologies; f) Innovation and start-ups and g) Space-Ocean interactions.





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