NII AGM Highlights achievements in Infection and Immunity Research
Dr. Pushkar Sharma, Director in- charge, National Institute of Immunology (NII) said on Sunday that the focus has been on various areas of research including infection and immunity, molecular design, gene regulation and reproduction and development, where cutting edge research in modern biology is being carried out employing multiple overlapping disciplines of modern biology. He was speaking at the Annual General Body Meeting of Society of the National Institute of Immunology (NII). Dr.Jitendra Singh, Union Minister for Science & Technology presided over the meeting.
Dr Sharma presented the work done by the institution in understanding fundamental processes that regulate inflammation, pathogenesis, ageing and immune response. He He mentioned that significant efforts have been made towards transitional research specifically for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. He further mentioned that the inactivated virus vaccine BBV152/Covaxin elicits robust cellular immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern- Delta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma, which persist at least up to 6 months. NII has also provided services for COVID-19 research. Under this program, 65 MLTs/Lab Technicians were trained in various aspects of COVID-19 training. There have been more than 30,000 samples screened so far and the positive samples have been sent for genome sequencing. Hon’ble Minister appreciated the research work carried out by the institute during the last 40 years.
Dr. Sharma further elaborated that NII has also developed a collagen based herbal formulation for osteoarthritis (OA). The formulation (SG002) contains a bioactive collagen peptide and alcoholic extract of two exotic Himalayan plants. He further added that the institute is also part of Indo-European Consortium for Next Generation Influenza Vaccination. The institution is part of the group working on COBRA (Computationally Optimized Broadly Reactive Antigen) vaccine. It will be developed by analyzing the sequence of influenza strains over a decade covering seasonal and pandemic strains. Based on the research from the last two decades it is suggested that COBRA vaccine is expected provide protection against seasonal flu, all the pandemic strains of flu and any emerging flu strains. State of art NHP-ABSL3 facility is being built within NII campus for the study, which will also be shared by other researchers in the country.
Dr. Sharma also highlighted that achievements of the research have been published and patented as well. NII has also been regularly conducting online webinars for the college and school students through their Science Setu program. The institution is conducting faculty lecture series, colloquium lectures and guest lecturers regularly. NII will also establish a science museum in one of the aspirational districts designated by NITI Aayog.