The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will soon begin research in communicable diseases including vector borne diseases, viral diseases, HIV/AIDS and drug abuses, bacterial infections, diarrhoeal diseases and parasitology in the north eastern region of the country. The research programme is aimed to cater to the health problems of north east India.
The focus of this research programme is primarily to conduct translational research so as to cater to the health problems of north east India for the benefit of people and public health welfare. The principal investigator (PI) must be from the north-east region of India.
The initiative taken by the ICMR in this regard is significant as the north-east India shares international borders with neighbouring countries like Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, and being a gateway to South East Asia, attains a specific importance to various problems due to various well established, emerging and reemerging communicable diseases and cross border transmission.
Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Division of the ICMR has invited concept proposals in communicable disease research in north east from scientists on priority areas of research in north-east India. The last date for submission of concept proposals is May 20, 2014.
Under the vector borne diseases, the focus of the research will be on diseases like malaria, filaraisis, Japanese encephalitis (JE), dengue, chikungunia, West Nile Virus and resurgence of kala azar as these are the most important mosquito borne parasitic and viral diseases prevalent in the north-eastern states.
The research programme is also focusing on viral diseases as Arunachal Pradesh is hyper-endemic for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection with C, D and A and I circulating genotypes. High prevalence of Hepatitis C infection among injecting drug users in Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland states has also been reported. In addition to hepatitis, among the viral diseases, sexually transmitted and respiratory infections are also very common in this part of the country.
The programme will also focus on HIV/AIDS and drug abuse; bacterial infections; diarrhoeal diseases and parasitological diseases which may be developed into full ad hoc proposals on approvals.
Under this north-east initiative, the principal investigator should identify the local problem, gaps in technology which need fortification and institutes outside the region with which collaboration would be useful.
The researchers should focus on the health problems of the north east region and the component of technology transfer should be inbuilt in all collaborative projects where one of the institutions is from outside the region. Other institutions including agriculture, IIT and universities could also apply for funding from ICMR provided there is a medical or public health benefits in the proposal. Such proposals could also be in the form of collaborative projects wherein the medical colleges can also be provided.
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