They will jointly research and focus on emerging and remerging infectious diseases and inherited disorders

Widening the scope for cooperation in health research, India and France have signed an MoU aimed at joint research and focus on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and inherited disorders.

France’s Institut Pasteur and India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a hybrid signing ceremony. The MoU is aimed towards effective and affordable healthcare solutions not only for the people of India and France but for the global good, said the Ministry of Science & Technology on Wednesday.

The current pandemic has highlighted how global health challenges can only be tackled with the involvement of different partners bringing their own strengths and expertise.

CSIR and Institut Pasteur would be jointly researching and focusing on emerging and remerging infectious diseases and inherited disorders and enable delivery of effective and affordable healthcare solutions not only for the people of India and France but for the global good, the ministry said.

The MoU includes collaboration in important areas like Genomics of Inherited Diseases, Personalized Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Antimicrobial Resistance and Development of New Models for Drug Screening, informed the Ministry of Science & Technology.

Health is a strategic sector of bilateral collaboration, based on the two countries’ complementarity, especially for biotechnology, applied artificial intelligence, and integrative health approach. The new MoU reinforces the already strong scientific collaboration in health innovation between France and India.

The MoU was signed by President of Institut Pasteur, Professor Stewart Cole, and the DG of CSIR, Dr Shekhar C. Mande in presence of French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain, who praised the work and emphasised its significance and impact on broader India-France S&T cooperation.

The path ahead for execution of collaboration activities under the MoU was presented by Vinay K. Nandicoori, Director CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB), Hyderabad, who was joined by his counterpart, Christophe d’Enfert, Sr. Executive Scientific Vice-President, Scientific Affairs Department, Institut Pasteur.

Calling upon the commonalities of interest and expertize of the two institutions, Dr. Claire Giry, Director General for Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, France appreciated the initiative and extended her full support to it.

Extending full support to this collaboration, Ambassador of India to France and the Embassy of India, represented by Deputy Chief of Mission Praphulla Chandra Sharma, termed it as a need of the hour, particularly in the age of the pandemic.

The senior leadership in the healthcare domain from CSIR and Pasteur, 14-member delegation from CSIR and DST and 15-member delegation from Institut Pasteur and over 10 representatives from the Indian and French Missions and Indian Ministry of External Affairs attended the virtual meeting.

The pact is a follow up of Prof. Cole’s visit to CSIR in January 2020 when scientists of both research institutes had decided to collaborate on identifying and developing new mechanisms and models, in Cell Biology, Virology, Vaccine development, Infectious diseases, and working on Computational Biology and Human Evolutionary Genetics studies.

This is also a joint effort to tackle potential new global health threats that could surface in future, said the Ministry of Science & Technology.

Institut Pasteur is a non-profit private foundation dedicated to the study of biology, micro-organisms, diseases, and vaccines. Over the course of its 10 years’ journey, it has been responsible for discoveries to control diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, and influenza. It is located in 25 countries.