‘India committed to support research on preventing TB’

Research consortium brings stakeholders to develop tools

Published - November 03, 2017 02:00 am IST - NEW DELHI

CHENNAI, 18/11/2013: Soumya Swaminathan, Director, National Research Institute for Tuberculosis in Chennai on Tuesday.
Photo: K_Pichumani

CHENNAI, 18/11/2013: Soumya Swaminathan, Director, National Research Institute for Tuberculosis in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: K_Pichumani

The India Tuberculosis Research Consortium (ITRC), formed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), here convened its second International Scientific Advisory Group (ISAG) meeting which concluded earlier this week.

Global experts

The ISAG comprises global experts in the areas of TB research, and has been formed to advise the ITRC on developing and translating, research and development leads across four key thematic areas – diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and implementation research – taking into account the research leads in each area, available both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and director general, ICMR said: “India’s National Health Policy recognises the key role that research plays in the development of a nation’s health. The ITRC brought together diverse stakeholders to develop new tools — diagnostics, vaccines and drugs — to enable India to take a leadership role in fast-tracking translational TB research and find solutions for the world.”

Number of cases

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Barry R. Bloom, distinguished service professor, Harvard University and Chair, ISAG, said, “TB is now the largest single cause of death in the world from an infectious disease. India has the highest number of TB cases in the world. It is widely recognised that the field needs new tools to make a greater impact on this disease, including more sensitive diagnosis, preventive vaccines and new drugs to treat MDR-TB. Hence the Government of India has made a significant commitment to support research to prevent and control the disease in India.”

India’s National Strategic Plan 2017 for TB elimination aims to achieve and maintain a good cure rate in new sputum positive patients for TB and reduce incidence of new cases, to reach elimination status by the year 2025.

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