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ICMR Plans to Conduct Clinical Trials to Evaluate anti TB drugs

In a bid to cut down tuberculosis incidence and mortality by 90 per cent by 2035, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has decided to take up research and technology in a big way. It is planning to conduct clinical trials for evaluating anti-TB drugs and vaccines.

The ICMR has invited medical colleges, research institutions, medical and private hospitals and practitioners for conducting clinical trials for evaluating tuberculosis drugs and vaccines.

A senior official from the ICMR, an autonomous body under the Health Research Department of the Health Ministry, said that the list of proposed clinical trials included a range of tests from phase-I trial to efficacy study of rifampicin and Piperine (drugs for treating TB) compared with standard rifampicin therapy in newly diagnosed sputum positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients as an adjuvant to the standard TB therapy among various .

Keeping in view the stringent national and international guidelines for conduct of clinical trials,  ICMR has decided to initiate conduct of clinical trials for regulatory submissions and for academic purposes, the official added.

“It is evident now that such a reduction cannot be achieved only with the existing tools and strategies. There is a strong need to undertake active research activities so as to identify newer ATT drug regimes, evaluate new drugs, test TB vaccines and validate new diagnostics tools. The research results should be able to guide cost effective treatment guidelines for local needs and the TB control programme,” he elaborated

India is a signatory to the WHO Global End TB Strategy, which was approved by the World Health Assembly in May 2014. Last week, Health Ministers from countries in WHO South-East Asia Region which bear half the global TB burden and the World Health Organisation signed a ‘Call for Action for Ending TB’, pledging to scale-up efforts and implement adequately funded, innovative, multisectoral and comprehensive measures to achieve the global target to end the disease by 2030.

At the meet, Dr Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South East Asia said countries also need to apply best practices in taking comprehensive TB treatment and prevention programmes to universal scale, while improving quality and making them genuinely ‘people-centered’.

The Ministers also discussed setting up of a Regional Innovation to Implementation (I 2 I) fund for accelerated sharing of knowledge, intellectual resources and innovations to reach out and treat all cases.

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