The Vaccine Action Program (VAP) is a bilateral U.S.-India program, which supports a broad spectrum of activities relating to immunization. The program was designed to encompass laboratory-based research, epidemiological studies, field trials, vaccine quality control, and delivery of vaccines. Under the VAP, U.S. and Indian scientists carry out collaborative research projects directed toward development of vaccines and immunodiagnostic reagents, or address other issues which are important for vaccine research. All work is carried out within areas designated as VAP priorities by the VAP Joint Working Group (JWG), which is comprised of scientists and officials from both countries. The JWG establishes the policies and scientific directions for the program, makes decisions on major activities, and provides scientific oversight and evaluation. Currently, the JWG is co-chaired by Dr. Harry Greenberg, Stanford University, and Dr. M. K. Bhan, Secretary, DBT.
On the Indian side, the JWG is called the "Apex Committee" and is appointed by the Prime Minister. As a committee appointed by the Prime Minister, the Apex Committee has the power to review and approve activities on the Indian side. This, coupled with the "nodal agency" authority bestowed on India's Department of Biotechnology by the VAP memorandum of understanding has given this program an extraordinarily workable administrative system in India in which decisions can be made rapidly. Many projects, for example, have been reviewed and approved in a few months and scientist exchange visits in as little time as two weeks.
Last Updated June 29, 2012