Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has invited bids from private bidders to develop vaccine and testing kids candidate to fight the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus has been isolated from the clinical specimen taken from a patient by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), ICMR lab in Pune. Highly ranked ICMR experts said that an expression of interest (EoI) has already been layed upon to invite bids from "experienced" companies. An ICMR senior official said, "We are looking for the development of a safe and effective monkeypox vaccine for eliciting strong, durable, and broad immune responses towards robust clinical protection against monkeypox virus infection as well as kits for diagnosis of monkeypox virus infection."
A senior scientist from ICMR said, "We were in the middle of the pandemic at that time, so the decision was taken to invite the company which was willing and had experience in manufacturing vaccines on a mass scale. Now, learning from our past experience, we have decided to start early and select a company through due process for the development of an indigenous vaccine against monkeypox."
According to the terms and conditions of the EoI, ICMR aims to give technical support and arrange clinical trials of new vaccine candidates in the country by its own institutes while the company that is the bid winner will be having the ownership of research and development, manufacturing, and commercialisation of the monkeypox vaccine.
Meanwhile, Monkeypox virus has infected more than 18,000 people worldwide, with most of the cases being reported from Europe. In India, four Monkeypox cases have been confirmed till now - three reported from Kerala and one is from Delhi. Moreover, there are a lot of people who are on the suspected list of Monkeypox at present. Amid the rise in Monkeypox cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared it as a public health emergency of International concern. In fact, recently, a company Genes2Me announced that they have developed an RT-PCR test for detecting Monkeypox virus.