ICMR invites bids to make vaccine for Monkeypox virus


After four confirmed instances of monkeypox were revealed, India is on high alert. Three cases of monkeypox from Kerala and one from Delhi have so far been documented. The Center assured that it is closely monitoring the condition and has released guidelines to combat the monkeypox virus. The National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, which is part of ICMR, has isolated the monkeypox virus from a patient’s clinical material in an effort to combat the disease. This could facilitate the creation of monkeypox viral diagnostic tools and vaccines.

The Indian Council of Medical Research invited expressions of interest (EOI) from skilled vaccine manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, research and development organizations, and in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) kit manufacturers for joint collaboration in developing a vaccine candidate against monkeypox and diagnostic kits for the infection in light of India’s success in isolating the virus.

The virus isolation enhances India’s capacity to do research and development in many other directions, Dr. Pragya Yadav, a senior scientist at NIV, said. “The National Institute of Virology has successfully isolated the monkeypox virus from the clinical specimen of a patient which can help in the development of diagnostic kits and also vaccines in future. For smallpox live attenuated vaccine was successful for mass immunization in the past. Similar approaches on new platforms can be tried for making vaccines. The virus isolation enhances India’s capacity to do research and development in many other directions,” Dr Yadav said.

The fluid inside the lesions on the skin is being used for virus isolation as they have the highest viral titre. Dr. Yadav said the monkeypox virus is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus having two distinct genetic clades — the central African (Congo Basin) clade and the west African clade.