Indian Council of Medical Research Current Affairs - 2019

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Rapid and Cheap Diagnostic test for Haemophilia A developed

Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Institute of Immunohaematology (in Mumbai) has developed a cost-effective Point-of-Care (POC) rapid diagnostic test for severe genetic disorders Haemophilia A (also called factor VIII (FVIII)) and Von Willebrand Disease (VWD).

Key Features of POC Diagnostic Test

  • Earlier Concern: Lack of diagnostic facilities and awareness as well as high costs of tests is leading to under diagnosis of bleeding disorders.
  • Diagnosis of: The newly developed POC test kit can be used for diagnosis of undiagnosed patients, post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), menorrhagia cases, recovery of factors in the transfused Haemophilia A patients, gynaecological complications with bleeding history, and also for differential diagnosis of both diseases.
  • Cost Effective: As per ICMR working cost of these kits is less than ₹50 which is too much less in comparison to existing conventional tests available for the diseases that costs around ₹4,000 to ₹10,000.
  • Rapid: With help of POC test, diagnosis can be done within half an hour (30 minutes) of blood sample collection.
  • Importance: This is World’s first Point-of-Care (POC) test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder.
  • Fatal Disease: Patients with severe Haemophilia A or Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) can have severe life threatening spontaneous or post-traumatic bleeding such as gastrointestinal bleed and brain haemorrhage or they may also have bleeding into joints or superficial bleeding from gums or nose.

About Von Willebrand Disease (VWD)

  • It is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective Von Willebrand factor (VWF). VWF is a clotting protein.
  • In normal case when a blood vessel is injured and bleeding occurs, VWF helps platelets to mesh together and form a clot to stop bleeding. But in case of people with VWD, they do not have enough VWF, or it does not work effectively (the way it would in normal case), thus it takes longer time for blood clotting and to stop bleeding.
  • As per estimations up to 1% of world’s population suffers from VWD.

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ICMR launched ‘MERA India’ to eliminate malaria from India by 2030

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) launched ‘MERA (Malaria Elimination Research Alliance) India’, with aim of eliminating Malaria from India by 2030. It is a collective group of partners working on malaria control. It was launched on occasion of World Malaria Day 2019 (Observed on 25 April).

MERA India

  • It aims to prioritize, plan and scale up a coordinated research to have impact on population facing malaria risk and to eliminate malaria from India by 2030.
  • It complements and not duplicates international efforts to eliminate Malaria on a national scale, and simultaneously contributing to broader global agenda.
  • It seeks to facilitate trans-institutional coordination and collaboration around shared research agenda, which responds to programmatic challenges, addresses gaps in available tools, and proactively contributes to targeted research.
  • It holds importance for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare because of operational research.

India and Malaria

Declining Trend: Malaria burden has declined in India by over 80% from 2.03 million cases in 2000 to 0.39 million in 2018, and Deaths caused by malaria also declined by over 90% from 932 deaths in 2000 to 85 in 2018. This success of India in malaria control cases, provided foundation for leadership commitment towards eliminating malaria from India by 2030. The WHO report also appreciated India’s research for decline in malaria.

India’s ‘The National Vector Borne Diseases Control Program (NVBDCP)’, developed a comprehensive framework to achieve overarching vision of “Malaria free India by 2030”. NVBDCP’s National Strategic Plan recognises critical role of research to support and guide malaria elimination efforts.

Way Forward

To achieve the stated objective, we need to have a coordinated approach, cutting edge research, research inputs, stick to timeline and tools which can guide national programme to develop strategies for regular changes endemicity in near malaria elimination era.

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