Dr. Anmol Chandele, Group Leader, ICGEB-EMORY Vaccine Program, ICGEB New Delhi, India

Science to Society: the strength of ICGEB

A major goal of ICGEB is to ensure that the fruits of modern molecular biology and biotechnology reach our populations and improve society and well-being in all of our Member countries.

I am proud about the achievements that ICGEB is making in sectors ranging from cutting edge research, through to capacity enhancing activities in our Member Countries and culminating in technology transfer and support of local production capabilities.   

In February this year, Dr. Anmol Chandele, heading the ICGEB-Emory Program, made a major breakthrough in the study of Dengue. As infections continue to increase across the globe, her team and collaborators report that a substantial number of primary dengue infections also carry severe disease conditions, challenging the prevailing belief that only secondary infections pose significant risks of morbidity. This has major implications for both surveillance, treatment and future vaccine developments.

Similarly, the endeavours dedicated to training across the globe are building capacity in countries where science, technology and know-how are least developed. A recent example is the initiative with CropLife Africa, and the partnership with the Biological Weapons Convention. The latter aims to strengthen capacity in disease surveillance, and has a direct impact on the ability to respond to emerging pathogens and build the global community’s ability in threat detection and prevention.

In Technology Transfer ICGEB has an amazing track record in transferring technologies for bio-pharmaceutical production, thereby ensuring countries develop their own local production capability and can thus become independent from outside supply chains. Much this requires training in bio-manufacturing processes and recent recipients include scientists from Chile,  Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Working directly with our countries also requires gaining a clear appreciation of their needs and demands. We strongly believe in a ‘bottom up’ approach, whereby ICGEB can respond to the most pressing needs of our community. Examples of this include our PIs and management on missions to Libya and Rwanda.

All of the above requires financial support, and we are delighted with the efforts being made across the whole of ICGEB to strengthen our ability to promote international scientific development.

In the last quarter, ICGEB scientists have continued to obtain significant funding to bring forward research in cancer, rare diseases, cardiovascular disorders, and across all fields of investigation. It is heartening to see how the results of these studies are being transferred to society through ambitious projects. Wonderful, recent examples of this in Europe are the Interregional Italy-Austria collaboration and the Serbia Italy cooperation projects.

As we march into 2024 ICGEB, remains committed to being the ‘go-to’ organisation for implementation in all aspects related to promoting biotechnology and sustainable scientific development across the Global South.    

Picture: the grounds of ICGEB New Delhi, India in spring.