The Centre has asked vaccine makers to develop a vaccine for Monkeypox, several cases of which have surfaced in the country. Diagnostic kit manufacturers have been asked to develop diagnostic kits for the disease. The Indian Council of Medical Research has asked for bids from both and said it is willing to make the Monkeypox virus strain available.
The vaccine candidate and the diagnostic kit can be developed under the Public-Private Partnership and the last date submission of the “Expressions of Interest” will be August 10, the ICMR said.
So far, four cases of Monkeypox have surfaced in India — three from Kerala and one from Delhi.
More than 18,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 78 countries, the World Health Organisation has said. Over 70 per cent of the cases are from the European region, and 25 per cent from the Americas.
But there are very few vaccine candidates.
One company — Denmark-based Bavarian Nordic — has developed a vaccine for Monkeypox, but there is no efficacy data.
Yesterday, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation, told NDTV that there is a need to scale up manufacturing.
“Bavarian Nordic has 16 million doses, which is part of the US stockpile. The US has donated some of those doses to some other countries,” she said.
She indicated that not only Indian firms can have a role in bottling, marketing and distributing the existing vaccine, but “we need to explore if we can… transfer technology and start the manufacturing in other sites,” she said.