As many as 272 parameters will be re-assessed, says P.M. Bhargava

The Indian National Clinical Laboratory Parameters (INCLAP) project, the country's effort to Indianise diagnostic values, is yet to receive funding, its chairperson P.M. Bhargava has said.

The project, estimated at Rs.670 crore, was conceived by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to assess the current markers of health in the country, all of which have been adapted from Western countries. These ‘normal values' will be reassessed in the context of genetic, climactic and other factors peculiar to the subcontinent.

As many as 272 parameters – blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, fat percentage – will be re-assessed, he added, speaking at the Healthcare Outlook 2050, a seminar organised jointly by the Department of Biotechnology, IIT-Madras, and Laila Pharma, Chennai. The new values will be a better determination of the actual physical health of the people of India.

While the ICMR Chief V.M. Katoch was in favour of the project, there was a delay with the actual sanctioning of funds as the expert committee continues to consider the issue. If it is approved, a sum of Rs.25 crore will be spent over a period of six months to run a pilot project. Ideally it should have been completed by now, Dr. Bhargava, who is also the founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, said.

In his lecture on the occasion, Dr. Bhargava provided a glimpse of medical history, right from the 1900's when medicine was in its infancy. The period between 1900 and 1947 when antibiotics was discovered was a huge leap. After 1947, there have been several milestones that have been speedily crossed by medicine, going right up to genome mapping.

In a scientist's perspective of the future, he said it is likely that smell would become a diagnostic tool. In the future, doctors will harvest organs from pigs for transplantation in humans; drugs and vaccines will be cheaper; more drugs will be plant-based, instead of chemical compounds, Dr. Bhargava said.

V. Mohan, chairman, M.V. Diabetes Research Institute, spoke of the need for introducing successful lifestyle interventions to prevent the rapid rise in numbers of diabetics.

M.R. Girinath, chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Apollo hospital, made a presentation on Cardiac Arterial Bypass Graft (CABG) and percutaneous infusion techniques for treating patients with coronary arterial disease.

K.R. Balakrishnan, director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Malar Hospital, explained what happens in heart failure, the magnitude of the problem and possible solutions for the Indian population.