TAMIL NADU

Pact to find low-cost, effective solutions for public health issues

Public Health England, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) and Indian Public Health Foundation of India will work together to find low-cost, effective solutions for public health issues in India and the U.K. through a memorandum of understanding signed recently.

One of the first programmes is the development of new vaccines to tackle Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever.

They will also work on microbial-resistant hospital-acquired infections such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and Clostridium Difficile, the Senior Business Development Manager on Research and Innovation for Public Health England, Seshadri Vasan, said during a visit to Jipmer on Wednesday.

The Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) has a very high fatality rate but no licensed vaccine.

PHE’s scientists have developed a vaccine candidate, which is the only one so far to show complete protection in an animal model, a release from Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said.

The MoU was exchanged on Monday in New Delhi in the presence of Secretary of Department of Health and Family Welfare Lov Verma, director of Jipmer T.S. Ravikumar and Permanent Secretary to the U.K. Department of Health, Una O’Brien.

For the CCHF research, Jipmer will lead the clinical side of the research, while the Indian Institute of Public Health in Gandhi Nagar will provide local expertise, since the disease is prevalent in western India.

So far, there have been two outbreaks of the disease, one in 2011 and the other in 2013.

The disease has a 10 to 40 per cent case fatality, Dr. Vasan said.

He has been teaching students of Jipmer’s masters in public health programme as adjunct professor of Jipmer. He will be training students in the assessment of cost effectiveness of new vaccines and other treatments.