Addressing Asia’s needs for vaccines in dengue, Dr Zou Lanling, Bacteriology Program Officer & Chief of Translational Sciences Section of National Institutes of Health USA, shared the efforts put into dengue vaccine R&D by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases(NIAID). NIAID conducts and supports research to develop vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to help understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.
Dr Zou gave an outline of the various vaccine R&D programmes undertaken by NIAID, namely R&D, pre-clinical and clinical development. It was interesting to learn that NIAID not only develops their own vaccine development strategies, but also supports the development of Takeda and Sanofi Pasteur’s dengue vaccines. NIAID also provides resources in funding, reagents and genomic databases. Vaccine evaluation and pre-clinical services provided by NIAID also helps in development of effective and affordable vaccines for the worldwide treatment of dengue.
Dr Zou reiterated that NIAID is an organisation that mainly provides funding to support research for companies and they do not gain any returns from IPs or royalties. For foreign(outside US) institutions and organisations that wish to apply for funding from NIH, it is recommended to contact a program officer from NIH. She emphasised the importance of proper communication with the officers in order for them to fully understand the project and needs of the project. However, Dr Zou believes that the best mode would be to partner and collaborate with a US institution or organisation for easier facilitation.