Vaccine and drug development and not space programmes key to India?s global leadership position, says Prof. Vijay Raghavan



N.B. Nair


New Delhi (ISJ) ? The success of science of technology in India is by its leadership in vaccine and drug production and not in launching space vehicles, lamented Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary in the Department of Biotechnology. Moderating a panel discussion at the Global Biotechnology Summit in New Delhi, Prof. Vijay Raghavan said, the country?s leadership in discovery and production of vaccines and drugs are much more transformative, making ?our societies, our countries and our planet to be a more safe and healthy place to live?.


?These successes are in a manner similar to what successes we perceive from launching a rocket to Mars. �It is really important that we convey to our people that these actually can be transformative far more than specific events that capture our imagination,? said Prof. Vijay Raghavan. ?Those are important, those are symbolic to the success of science and technology, but these kinds of diffused interactions globally actually transforms our societies, our countries and our planet to be a more safe and healthy place.


The two-day Global Summit seeks to showcase India?s strength and capacity in biotechnology and to bring together all stakeholders to prepare a joint action plan for achieving a target of US $ 100 in the next 10 years.


DrugsProf. Vijay Raghavan suggested India should move from taking a position of interactions to a position of responsibility. ?That responsibility and leadership is necessary because of our large population, large size. Also because, India is one of the few countries that have the capacity to understand the most severe of the problems and can resolve them.?


?From small programmes, we have moved hugely to the development, participation and joint missions of various kinds. India now subscribes to Synchrotron Beamlines, used in experiments inparticle physics,materials science,chemistry, andmolecular biology,? he added.


Dr. Suresh Jadhav from Serum Institute of India however said it is paradoxical that several countries have achieved universal immunization through vaccines produced by it, but not India. It is estimated, about 65% of world receives at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute.


According to provisional data released by the federal Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, only 68.23% of children in India were covered under the Universal Immunization Programme in 2015-16, whereas it was 84.81% during the year earlier.


Representatives of several countries like the USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Netherlands said, their countries have already forged collaboration with Indian scientific bodies primarily for its low-cost innovations and smart solutions and new market.�





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