New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India and Netherland-based research and development organisation for vaccine technologies Intravacc have signed a deal to jointly develop bioneedles, a novel delivery system for vaccines.
About the collaboration in one of the key healthcare challenges, Serum Institute, in a joint statement with the Institute for Translational Vaccinology (Intravacc), on Friday said it marks a major step towards better access to vaccines.
“Vaccines play a critical role in public health globally, and for Intravacc, India is a vital market for partnerships in vaccine development. This project could potentially mark a major step towards vastly improved access to vaccines, especially in low and middle-income countries,” said Intravacc CEO Thijs Veerman.
Currently, vaccines are mostly administered through intramuscular or subcutaneous injection by needle and syringes, which may cause pain and fear and also requires trained personnel that may not always be readily available in low and middle-income countries.
Further, needle waste can be hazardous due to reuse and needle-stick injuries may result in transmission of infectious diseases. Among the numerous vaccine administration devices being developed, one of the most promising is bioneedle, a tiny biodegradable mini implant.
The MoU between the parties to develop bioneedles for vaccines against measles and rubella was signed in the presence of Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Foreign Trade Minister Sigrid Kaag during the Netherlands Trade Mission to India last week.
“The collaboration between SII and Intravacc is a good example of a cooperation in which companies from India and The Netherlands join forces to help improve health worldwide,” said Dutch Medical Care and Sports Minister Bruno Bruins.
Intravacc will optimize the formulation of the vaccine and preparation of the bioneedles and freeze-drying process, while SII will supply measles-rubella vaccine. Both parties will search for a partner, preferably from India, to develop a suitable applicator device to administer the bioneedles.
“We are now the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by the number of doses produced. It is estimated that about 65 per cent of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute,” said Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director, Serum Institute of India.
“With this project, we continue to build a sustainable, long-term partnership with Intravacc in our effort to manufacture affordable life-saving vaccines.”