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Emory to Promote Vaccine Research in India

March 2008
Emory to Promote Vaccine Research in India

Tuberculosis remains the single biggest cause of death in India, claiming around 400,000 lives every year (the worldwide figure is over 2 million). The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), known for its advanced research and training in molecular biology and biotechnology, has one of its three centers in India (the other two are Italy and South Africa). Emory University’s vaccine center, founded in 1995, has one of the world’s highest concentrations of academic researchers in this field. Emory is now teaming up with ICGEB to open a new facility in India, where there will be an aggressive push by leading scientists in the area of vaccine research and development. “I have every expectation that this new joint vaccine center will have a significant impact on future vaccine discoveries aimed at fighting the most difficult infectious diseases,” noted Thomas Lawley, dean of medicine at Emory.

Rafi Ahmed, the vaccine center’s director at Emory, added, “Together, we plan to develop new vaccines and help move them from the laboratory through complex testing, approval, and manufacture to local health centers where they can benefit individuals with the greatest need.” Emory will hire full-time professors for the new center in Delhi, making this initiative a first for the university. Never before had Emory engaged full-time professors for overseas engagements. While Emory will pay $2.3 million over the next three years, ICGEB is providing the space and infrastructure for this joint Indian facility. Besides tuberculosis, the focus will also be on HIV/AIDS, malaria, hepatitis C, dengue virus, and other infectious diseases.

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