Today representatives from U.S. and Indian public health agencies signed a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) aimed at advancing a broad range of joint research ventures, public health collaborations, and clinical exchanges. Addressing cooperative opportunities in areas as diverse as cancer prevention, antimicrobial resistance, and traffic safety, the proposed MOUs reflect a deep commitment to a growing partnership between the U.S. and India that is increasingly focused on health priorities for both countries, including environmental health, non-communicable diseases, and global health security.
U.S. Ambassador to India Richard R. Verma participated in the signing; U.S. partners included the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Global Affairs; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Cancer Institute, both parts of the National Institutes of Health.
On the occasion of the signing, Ambassador Verma said, “The MOUs reflect the breadth and depth of our partnership, and the vast opportunities open to us when we formally join our institutions, our experts, our experience.” Signatories from the Government of India represented the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; the Indian Council for Medical Research of the Department of Health Research; the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology; and the India National Cancer Institute, a part of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Activities under these MOUs demonstrate a breadth of collaboration from laboratory bench to patient bedside. During the visit of President Obama in January 2015, the U.S. and India committed to “enhance cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavor to better their citizens’ lives and that of the global community.” Both countries have highlighted these partnerships, formalized in these MOUs, as concrete examples of that commitment.
India and the United States of America (USA) signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on Cooperation on Cancer Research, Prevention, Control and Management and Collaboration in Environmental and Occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control, and a Letter of Intent (LoI) on Antimicrobial Resistance Research, here today. The MoU on Cancer Research and LoI on Antimicrobial Resistance Research were signed by Shri B P Sharma, Secretary (Department of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Health Research), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Secretary (Department of Biotechnology), Ministry of Science & Technology and Mr. Richard Verma, Ambassador of the USA to India. While, the MoU on Collaboration in Environmental and Occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control was signed by Shri B P Sharma and Mr. Richard Verma.
The MoU for cooperation on cancer research prevention, control and management was signed between the National Cancer Research Institute of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), USA. The main areas of cooperation under this MoU are-
- Increased bilateral cooperation on cancer research, prevention, control and management;
- Development of collaborative research projects on population-based cancer control and implementation science;
- Development of projects in the areas of basic and epidemiological research, pre-clinical model development, clinical research and oncology care delivery;
- Collaboration for conducting research and training on development of low-cost technologies, diagnostics and combination of existing medications against common cancers and development of existing therapies for novel indications related to oncology;
- Discovery and development of new anti-cancer agents;
- Research on cancer screening and early detection;
- E-health, M-health and telehealth approaches to cancer education, early detection and treatment;
- Health systems research to strengthen cancer care delivery mechanism and build public health capacity for cancer care;
- Development of Cancer Registries;
- Organization of joint conferences, symposia and other scientific meetings of mutual interest;
- Information and scientific exchanges, and the sharing of experiences;
- Participation in professional and scientific meetings conducted in both countries; and
- Any other area as mutually decided between the Participants if and to the extent consistent with applicable statutes, regulations and policies.
The MoU intends to strengthen the collaboration on the following:
(i) Promotion and development of cooperation in the fields of clinical cancer research and patient care delivery;
(ii) Infrastructure development, training, and capacity building;
(iii) Collaboration in cancer research including basic, translational and survivorship research, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, screening, treatment and control;
(iv) Direction of increased collaboration between appropriate Centers of Excellence and Institutions in both countries, as recommended by the Participants; and
(v) Assessment and application of new and cost effective cancer diagnostic technologies for public health benefits, and the translation of technologies for global health.
The second MoU was signed between the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services of the USA and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Collaboration in Environmental and Occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control. The MoU aims to further the cooperation in the fields of environmental and occupational health and injury prevention and control research, education and training, infrastructure development, and capacity-building for their reciprocal and mutual benefit. The main areas of cooperation include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The prevention of illness related to toxic chemicals and hazardous substances;
- The development and use of improved tools, technologies and methods for enhancing environmental and occupational public health, and injury prevention efforts, including surveillance;
- Public health effects of ambient and indoor air pollution including a focus on exposures associated with burning of solid fuels for cooking and heating;
- The prevention of illness and injury related to hazards at the workplace and related research;
- Planning, preparedness, and response for chemical releases and radiation events;
- Research into the environmental and occupational causes of illnesses, including the assessment of exposure to, and disposal of, industrial and chemical waste materials;
- Use and application of biomonitoring and biomarkers in environmental and occupational health;
- Prevention efforts and research related to access to water, water quality, sanitation, and hygiene as related to their environmental health impacts;
- The public health effects of urbanization and the built environment;
- Impact of climate variability and climate change on health; and
- Public health approaches for injury prevention and control including the areas of road safety, burn injuries and unintentional injury.
A Letter of Intent (LoI) on Antimicrobial Resistance Research was signed between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services of USA. This aims to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in antimicrobial resistance research to include, but not limited to, the following areas:
- Mechanism of antimicrobial resistance, including application of systems biology
- Comparative testing and assisting the validation of new diagnostics
- Development of novel interventions
- Explore possible patterns of AMR in neonatal intensive care units as observed in India and the US
- Explore possible collaboration in clinical studies to determine new and combinations/uses of old drugs.
The signatories welcomed signing of the agreements and hoped that these MoUs/LoI will usher in greater cooperation in the health sector which will benefit people of both the countries, in addition to further deepening and strengthening of cooperation and collaboration between the countries.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]