India, Netherlands, Sweden collaborate for HIV/AIDS research

New Delhi: In a first-of-its-kind endeavor, the Governments of India and The Netherlands announced the launch of Collaborative Research Programme on HIV/AIDS between India, The Netherlands and Sweden in the capital, today.

Inaugurating the project, Minister Bruno Bruins, Minister of Medical Care, Netherlands said, “The inspiring projects announced today, highlight the affordability and accessibility of healthcare. It is a theme where our countries have excellent opportunities for innovative partnerships. By partnering together, we can help address the global challenge of rapidly rising healthcare costs, address unmet needs and open new markets together.”

The programme is aimed at harnessing complementary research strengths and diverse expertise across the three nations to catalyze the development of better tools to understand and address the burgeoning global epidemic of HIV.

Addressing the media, Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, said, “It is with great pride that we announce this programme. This partnership aligns with our mandate to elevate Indian bioscience on the global stage through innovative and cross-cutting partnerships. I am very certain that joint research by scientists on each side would support generation of new science and knowledge to reinforce the global fight against HIV/AIDS and cater to the emerging challenges in HIV prevention and research. ”

The endeavor brings together various Government and non-Government institutions in India including the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), along with Centers of Research Excellence such as Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Institute of Bioinformatics (IOB), Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), and Y. R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education (YRGCARE) in India; Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands, and Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

This unique collaboration will enable a multitude of cross-learning opportunities in HIV/AIDS research to address current unmet needs and emerging challenges such as drug resistance, viral diversity, and coinfections and comorbidities. It will focus on accessing relevant populations of research interest, and leveraging next-generation technologies and advanced predictive analytics to better understand the geographic diversity and different clades of the virus, as well as the divergent human immune responses based on genetic, immunological and behavioral determinants. This information will be key in developing new and improved tools for prevention, treatment and possible cure for HIV in the near future.

Through these efforts over an initial partnership period of five years, the programme will strengthen and enhance disease research capabilities and enable technology transfer between the partnering countries through the use of state-of-the-art biorepositories, data platforms and exchange programmes for researchers and fellowships for PhD scholars.