Second phase of low-cost TB drug trials soon - The New Indian Express

Second phase of low-cost TB drug trials soon

Published: 26th November 2012 11:48 AM

Last Updated: 26th November 2012 11:48 AM

“Tuberculosis kills 1.7 million people every year in India. The medicines used to treat TB have remained the same from the last 50 years,” said Samir K Brahmachari, director general, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

He delivered the 25th foundation day lecture of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB)at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) here on Sunday.

His lecture, ‘open source drug discovery on innovative model for affordable health care for all’ threw light on the open source drug discovery (OSDD) programme initiated almost four years ago to combat the spread of TB in India by developing low-cost drugs. “This programme has people from different countries collaborating their efforts so that rapid developments can be made. Most likely we will begin the next phase of trials in the coming few months,” mentioned Bhrahmachari.

Speaking at a press conference after the lecture, the founder director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) said a proposal to provide Rs 600 crore for the next phase of the project was made to the government. “In the first phase, Rs 50 crore was provided under the 11th five year plan,” he said. The project aimed to eradicate TB cases in the country by 2022.

Asked why drugs for TB were not developed, he said, “TB is a poor man’s disease and multinational corporations are not willing to come forward to invest. India did make low-cost drugs. But there is still a need for better solutions.”

“Cancer treatment costs a patient up to Rs 2,80,000 a month. However, the cost of drugs for HIV patients has come down drastically due to sustained efforts,” said Brahmachari.

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