India and US soon to begin collaborative research on human immune phenotyping and infectious disease

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To foster, stimulate and expand research studies describing human immune phenotypes after vaccination or infection by supporting collaborative projects between Indian and US researchers, India and the US will soon begin collaborative research on human immune phenotyping and infectious diseases. However, HIV/AIDS research is excluded from this program.

The other major objective of this collaborative program is to characterize the diverse states of the human immune system prior to and following infection, prior to and following vaccination against an infectious disease, or prior to and following administration of an adjuvanted versus non-adjuvanted vaccine to assess the effects of the adjuvant.

This effort relies on the analysis of well-characterized human cohorts for immunophenotyping studies, which are defined as studies that apply a variety of systems biology approaches or other multi parameter phenotyping methods to discover and begin to define molecular signatures characteristic of the specific immune status induced by a particular infection or vaccine, or characteristic of the resting immune status in a particular population. The other goal of this Indo-US collaborative research, in collaboration with investigators of the NIAID Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) is to generate research results leading to improved human vaccines and immunotherapeutics for infectious diseases.

This program is being conducted under the auspices of the Indo-US Vaccine Action Program (VAP) – a bilateral program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the Department of Health and Human Services, United States (US); and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India; in conjunction with HIPC.

This collaborative effort is significant as in the broad scheme of global health, infectious diseases continue to plague various communities around the world, claiming numerous lives and significantly compromising the well-being of many others. Understanding basic immunological principles and the human immune response to various infectious agents, or to vaccines developed to prevent infectious diseases, can create knowledge to develop new vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. India, with its large and genetically diverse population, provides an opportunity to study human immunology in relation to a number of communicable diseases that are either uniquely tropical or global health threats. Moreover, preliminary epidemiological data generated by researchers in India suggest that the Indian population may have a wide variation of susceptibility or resistance to infectious pathogens due to diverse exposure conditions.

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