ICMR upgrade in two weeks: Anbumani

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Special Correspondent

Concern over resurgence of chikungunya

Boston University to set up campus in India

33 scientists receive awards

NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be upgraded into a department of health research within a couple of weeks and the proposal is awaiting Cabinet approval, according to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.

Speaking after presenting the ICMR awards for 2004-2005, Dr. Ramadoss said the Ministry was committed to elevating the status of health research and creation of a new department would be a major step in this direction.

Allocation up

The Ministry had proposed an allocation of up to 2 per cent of the total health spending by 2010 on research.

“The allocation for the 11th Plan period had not been made yet but we will try and keep the ICMR’s requirement at Rs 5,000 crore, as recommended by its performance appraisal board, Dr. Ramadoss said.

As the quality of health research in India was rated high, the Boston University had decided to set up a campus in the country by September.

Expressing concern over the resurgence of chikungunya in the country after 32 years, high prevalence of oral and lung cancer and kidney and bladder stones in the northeast, Dr. Ramadoss asked the ICMR researchers to look into these issues. The ICMR could give at least one-third of royalty to researchers as an added incentive.

Develop vaccines

The Minister asked scientists to develop vaccines for malaria, TB and bird flu. He stressed the need to promote research in stem cells and nanotechnology.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaaka Lakshmi expressed happiness that the ICMR was strengthening the nation’s capability in strategic areas, such as threat of bioterrorism, by setting up appropriate facilities. As many as 33 scientists received awards on the occasion.



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