Collaboration in science and technology has been an enduring feature of the U.S.-India relationship for over three decades. Cooperation in the health sciences has been particularly prominent. Special initiatives have been undertaken over the years in an effort to advance cooperation more rapidly and effectively in some areas. One of the most important and successful of these has been the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program (VAP).
The VAP had its origin in 1984 when Dr. Fred Robbins, a U.S. Nobel Laureate in Medicine, visited India and prompted discussion of the possibility of taking advantage of advances in research technology to address needs for new and better vaccines for diseases of importance to India. This helped to unleash a series of actions that ultimately led to the signing of a Government-to-Government Memorandum of Understanding for the VAP in July 1987.
The existence of the VAP program is an important recognition that vaccines are among the most cost-effective of health technologies and their widespread use in both countries is key to controlling the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases. With the emergence and reappearance of infectious diseases and increasing attention to health programs which promote child survival, there is renewed interest in attacking this important category of diseases across the full spectrum of scientific, medical and public health disciplines. Moreover, it is now recognized that prevention of HIV/AIDS will be achieved and when an effective and affordable HIV vaccine is available. This is true also of other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., and Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology in India, Maharaj K. Bhan, M.D., renewed the VAP agreement on May 3, 2007, in Bethesda, Maryland, for another five-year period.
Last Updated June 29, 2012