NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Health of Department of Health and Human Services, USA, in September 2021 and in accordance with Rule 7(d)(i) of Second Schedule of Government of India (Transaction of Business) rules 1961.
Objectives of the MoU:
Cooperation shall be undertaken primarily in Chennai, India at the National Institute for Research on Tuberculosis (NIRT) of ICMR in the scientific area, including but not limited to, basic, translational and applied innovative research, epidemiology, medicine, molecular biology, medical entomology, parasitology, immunology, medicine, microbiology and virology, with a focus on techniques for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tropical infectious and allergic diseases.
Focus on collaboration includes tuberculosis, parasitic infections, HIV/AIDS, Allergic diseases, immune system diseases, other emerging and re-emerging pathogens, and other diseases of shared scientific interest.
The U.S. Government and the Government of the Republic of India may provide funding support for activities under this MoU depending on the availability of resources. The Parties may seek additional funding and active participation from governmental, non-governmental, private sector, foundation, and other sources, as necessary and consistent with usual and customary practice, to support individual projects. The Parties may expend funds based on the individual, approved budgets of jointly approved, collaborative research projects and related activities.
All activities pursuant to this MoU shall be conducted in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, procedures, policies, and guidelines prevailing in the countries of respective Parties and shall be subject to the availability of personnel, resources, and appropriated funds.
The scope of employing Indian scientists/researchers/students on contractual/project mode, as per applicable rules, under collaborative research projects emanating from the ICER program would help them in learning various techniques/skill development and capacity building in the area of TB and other diseases.
The Indo-US joint statement was originally signed in 2003 for the establishment of an International Center for Excellence in Research (ICER) in Chennai. The same has been extended in 2008 and again renewed in 2017 and now renewed as MOU. The ICER is located in Chennai and is a partnership between NIAID and the National Institute for Research on Tuberculosis (NIRT) of ICMR. This collaboration has supported over 13 clinical protocols, helped in developing a seminal understanding of the immunology of helminth infections, elaborated the effects of diabetes mellitus on the immune response to tuberculosis, undertaken several studies to understand malnutrition and tuberculosis, started a pilot study to study the effects of helminth infection, SARS-CooV-2 seropositivity on the immune response, etc.