HYDERABAD: Yet another major scientific institution is all set to join Hyderabad’s list of prestigious central institutions. The city will now be home to a new centre that will work on finding alternatives to end animal testing, a common practice in various industries to test products before they are allowed for human usage.
According to an official letter sent by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, ICMR will be establishing a ‘Centre for Excellence in human pathway-based biomedicine and risk assessment’ in Hyderabad.
The centre, that will work towards finding alternatives to animal testing, will be located on the premises of the National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research (NARF-BR), National Institute of Nutrition, Tarnaka. The official letter by ICMR was obtained by animal rights NGO Humane Society International-India.
The ICMR letter also mentions that in order to strengthen the research and development in the area of providing an alternative to research on animals in the country, two major steps have been taken - A paper titled ‘Indian Roadmap on Alternatives to Animals in Research: Past, present and future’, and preparation of a strategy document for promoting, strengthening and undertaking research in the country on the alternatives to usage of animals in research.
Animals are routinely used for testing in industries like pharmaceuticals and pesticides, against which there has been a rising demand for finding effective alternative solutions like human organ-on-a-chip and next-generation computer modelling techniques.
HSI/India Deputy Director Alokparna Sengupta said, “More and more scientists are questioning the relevance and utility of animal-based research and testing, while foreign funding agencies are investing heavily in cutting-edge non-animal technologies.
This new ICMR centre, if properly resourced, has the potential to make India a key global player in 21st-century medical research.” HSI-India officials informed that they along with another animal rights NGO, People for Animals will be actively involved with the new centre in Hyderabad.