Vaccines for dengue, malaria in final stage

Vaccines for dengue, malaria in final stage
Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan, on Sunday claimed indigenous vaccines against dengue and malaria are in an advanced stage of development.

Addressing the 103rd session of the Indian Science Congress in Mysuru, the minister said that Indian scientists were close to developing both vaccines that would be made available to the public once they are ready.

The minister pointed out that rota virus vaccine against diarrhoeal diseases was developed in India at a fraction of the cost, compared to the vaccines available in the international market. He said a cheaper medicine for diabetics - BGR-34 was launched through technology transfer by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The Science ministry would establish five technology research centres for taking up translational research.

Recalling a previous call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inter-ministerial collaboration, Vardhan said his ministry was collaborating with the ministries of Railways, Human Resource Development and industries, among others.

“For Railways, we want to see solar trains in the future, besides fuel efficiency, emission control norms, fog control and other plans, whereas for the HRD ministry - to efficiently implement its Avishkar scheme,” he said.

He said India didn't need to look at the western nations as there were outstanding Indian scientists. “We have cutting edge technology that is exploited for the benefits of the common man, as is evident from the recent examples in weather forecasts, cyclonic and tsunami warnings and disseminating these information to farmers and fishermen,” he said.

Dwelling further on how the cost of technology comes down with time, he cited the example of gene sequencing, which used to cost $ 1 billion ten years ago, but now is available in India at a cost of about $ 1000.

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