The indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine, or Rotavac, was commercially produced by Bharat Biotech and launched by Narendra Modi in March 2015

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India had “broken its inertia” in vaccine development after 2014 and had introduced four new vaccines into the country’s immunisation programme. “This included an indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine. Recently, we also gave market authorisation for an indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine,” he said, addressing an online conference of scientists of Indian origin on Friday.

The indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine, or Rotavac, was commercially produced by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and launched by PM Modi in March 2015. However, the vaccine was the culmination of research that began with Phase-1 trials in 2003.

“Our vaccine developers are active and globally competitive during this pandemic,” he added. “Time is of the essence and we have committed to eliminate tuberculosis from India by 2025 — five years ahead of the deadline.”

The VAIBHAV Summit is a global virtual summit of overseas and resident Indian researchers and academicians, and is being organised from October 2 to October 31, 2020. “The aim of the summit is to bring Indian origin luminaries in academic institutes and research and development organizations across the world and resident counterparts on a single platform to debate upon collaboration mechanisms to strengthen academic and science and technology base in India for global development,” said a release by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Sadly, for long, students in India have been fed the lie that everything before the [advent] of modernity was superstition and dark ages. This is the age of computers, programming and mobile phones… And the base of all computing is binary code, which is 1 and 0. When we speak of ‘zero’ how can we not speak of India?” he queried. “The Indian diaspora are excellent ambassadors of India at the world stage,” he added.

The inauguration will be followed by online deliberation sessions. The initiative involves multiple levels of interactions among Indian and overseas experts over a month-long series of webinars, video conferences, etc. More than 3,000 overseas Indian origin academicians and scientists from 55 countries, and more than 10,000 resident academicians and scientists are taking part in the summit. About 200 academic institutes and Science and Technology Departments, led by K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, government of India, are organising the summit all of October.

Over 1,500 panelists from 40 countries, and 200 Indian R&D and academic institutions would virtually deliberate in 18 different areas and 80 topics in more than 200 deliberation sessions. The concluding session is planned on October 31, 2020, on the occasion of Sardar Patel Jayanti, the statement added.

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