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Leptospirosis vaccine ready for trials: ICMR Director-General

Re-dedicating: V.M. Katoch, Director-General, ICMR, unveiling a plaque at the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis in Chennai on Monday. Aleyamma Thomas (left), Director-in-Charge, TRC, and Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, are in the picture. — Photo: M. Vedhan

Re-dedicating: V.M. Katoch, Director-General, ICMR, unveiling a plaque at the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis in Chennai on Monday. Aleyamma Thomas (left), Director-in-Charge, TRC, and Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, are in the picture. — Photo: M. Vedhan  

Researchers urged to push their work for international recognition

The leptospirosis vaccine model, designed in the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) Regional Centre, Andamans, is ready for trials this year, Indian Council for Medical Research Director-General V.M. Katoch said.

Speaking on the sidelines after participating in the 55 {+t} {+h} foundation day of the Tuberculosis Research Centre, Dr. Katoch said the vaccine model designed by scientists in the Andamans is ready and will now under go animal and clinical trials. He also added that these trials would begin during the current year.

He stressed on the need to develop indigenous vaccines, as only these could bring the costs down and thereby, would be beneficial to more people. Some of the areas that the country could specialise in include the rotavirus, chikungunya, dengue, and even the Human Papilloma Virus.

The pilot project to evolve diagnostic criteria more suited to the Indian population will kick off in a few months, Dr. Katoch said. It would be launched in 12 districts initially, across the country, involving in certain instances, private institutions with a good reputation and that have done some good research work.

Earlier, after re-dedicating TRC as the new National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis at the TRC, Dr. Katoch urged institutions of medical research to push their work for national and international recognition. He said many institutions were doing fine work in several health sectors, developing regimens based on their years of research and data collection. However, these were not being pushed either by the nation or by the institutions themselves.

“Thus, we have lost on all fronts in every sector. We need to bring the pride back to society. Solutions have come from India, but we have hardly been quoted. That is because we have not been strong enough to push Indian regimens. We need to assert and push our agenda and our quality work for implementation, initially at least, at the national level,” he said.

Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University Vice-Chancellor Mayil Vahanan Natarajan said there was lot of research happening in institutions such as the ICMR, and no worthwhile research in medical colleges or among clinicians; but no links between the two. The varsity had started a number of research programmes inviting scholars, and doctors to apply. He hoped there would be collaborations in the future between the varsity and ICMR institutions. He also released a monograph on the occasion.

Arun Baroka, senior deputy director general, ICMR, informed the audience that a postal stamp and a commemorative coin (Rs.100 denomination) would be released in November in honour of the occasion.

S.M. Mehendale, director, National Institute of Epidemiology, said that the expanding interest of ICMR institutions was in involving local communities and focussing on solving locally-relevant issues.

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