Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee

Dated: 17th July, 2019

ICMR launches first clinical trial of TB vaccine for adults

New Delhi, Jul 15 (PTI) A vaccine trial to prevent occurrence of tuberculosis among close contacts of a TB patient who are at high risk of contracting the disease was launched on Monday by Indian Council of Medical Research.

The Phase III trial is being conducted to come up with the first TB vaccine for adults as the BCG vaccine is only for newborns. This vaccine trial is a step towards prevention and decreasing the burden of this disease, a statement by the apex health research body stated. Since, India has the highest number of TB cases in the world, ICMR is undertaking this first TB vaccine clinical trial after the famous BCG vaccine trial undertaken decades back. After a detailed landscape analysis of the available lead vaccine candidates, two potential vaccine candidates VPM 1002 and MIP were shortlisted for taking forward through the phase III vaccine trial in healthy household contacts of sputum smear positive TB patient, it said.

The two vaccines are -- VPM1002, which is produced by Serum Institute of India, Pune and Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii (MIP).

"This clinical trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of these two vaccines in a single trial against control group with no vaccine," the statement said.

The study would enroll 12,000 healthy household contacts of sputum smear positive TB cases that are at high risk of contracting the disease, from 7 sites in 6 states, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

At the launch of the clinical trial for the vaccine here, Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR appreciated the government's support and the researchers involved in the trial. He said that the clinical trials are needed in India to show that the vaccine is safe and effective, and that it can provide protection to Indian populations where the disease is endemic. Dr. Rohit Sarin, Director, NITRD said that it is a much-awaited trial and promised full support in timely completion of the exercise.

The study has approval of all statutory regulatory bodies of India as per the Indian regulatory guidelines. It has been started at the first site at NITRD here today and would be subsequently initiated at other sites; the goal is to complete its enrollment within 7 to 8 months.

Delhi High Court order on 2 PILs of Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) on issues of public health importance

Dr K K Aggarwal and Advocate Ira Gupta

On 3rd of this month, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Delhi High Court had strictly directed Central Government to provide the list of Over the Counter (OTC) Drugs by September 12 in the PIL filed by Heart Care Foundation of India. The Hon’ble High Court passed the following order:

“If the report as per the directions of this Court is not filed so far, the same be filed on or before the next date of hearing. We also direct the respondents to provide a list of Over the Counter (OTC) drugs by the next date of hearing.”......read more

Aspiring desensitization therapy is safe and effective in patients with acute coronary syndrome

New research suggests that acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) desensitization therapy is safe and effective in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The meta-analysis published July 1, 2019 in the American Journal of Cardiology found that 98% of the patients were able to complete an aspirin-introduction protocol and continue aspirin until discharge, without symptoms of hypersensitivity.....read more

Persist in your efforts and you will be successful

All success stories are stories of great failures. The only difference is that every time they failed, they bounced back. This is called failing forward, rather than backward. You learn and move forward. Learn from your failure and keep moving......read more

Healthcare News Monitor

Health ministry proposes National Exit Test to replace NEET exam for medical PG admissions

Pharmabiz India– A Raju

The Union health ministry has proposed to scrap the NEET exam for the admission to the Post Graduate medical courses from the coming academic year. As against the NEET exam, the health ministry is expected to take final results of the proposed National Exit Test (NEXT) as the basis for the medical PG admissions. According to sources from the Union Health Ministry, this new draft proposal has been incorporated in the revised draft National Medical Commission Bill which would be sent to the cabinet soon. It is said that these new changes in the NMC bill has been done on the directions from the Prime Minister’s Office. The sources said that in place of NEET, the union health ministry is expected to conduct National Exit Test, a common exam for all the candidates who have completed their MBBS final exams. Based on the merit list in the NEXT exam, the MBBS students will become eligible for taking admission to PG courses. “The main objective behind scrapping NEET is to relieve the students from appearing different tests. We are trying to implement only one test across the country for the MBBS graduates and those who excel in this test will be admitted to take PG courses,” said a senior official from the central health ministry.

How to maximise ambulance services in times of need

The Hindu- Soma Basu

Ambulances are the difference between life-threatening situations and life-saving moments. Here’s a primer on how to maximise their services in times of need…In Taiwan and some cities in China such as Shenzhen, people hang a small board on their front gates with emergency contact numbers. “Houses carry either the names of two nearest physicians and relatives or ambulance service numbers. Some even had the nearest police station and fire control contacts,” says Dr Narendra Jena, the director of the Institute of Emergency Medicine at Madurai’s Meenakshi Mission Hospital. “The idea is to help people in an emergency.” A simple, no-cost solution for a family member or a passerby to make that crucial call. Whether you’re alone at home and have a fall, or you’re surrounded by family and develop unexplained chest pain, it’s important to have an action (not reaction) plan for an emergency. One crucial step is to have ambulance details handy. But how do you decide on which ambulance to call, and do you need to call one at all — won’t a car do?

Doctors’ association to demand armed guards from CM Devendra Fadnavis

Daily News & Analysis-PTI

The association of resident doctors will be writing a letter at the ministry level with regards to the assault incident at BYL Nair Hospital on Sunday, July 14. The doctors' stated that strict actions should be taken against the family members who attack doctors and staff members in the hospital. Dr Kalyani Dongre, president, central wing of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), said, "We will be writing a letter to the government and Chief Minister asking them to look into the matter. Going on a strike is not on our agenda, as it does not help and affects the patients. We want the government to hear our plea and make a strict Central Protection Act for doctors." After the previous instances of assault on doctors at Sir JJ Hospital and Sion Hospital a few years ago, the medical administration had come up with the solution of entry passes, security guards and emergency alarm. In Nair Hospital's cases, while the emergency alarm system helped with security guards, the resident doctors still feel a strict punishment provision was necessary.

Expired drugs dumped on river bed in Cuttack

The New Indian Express

After dumping of garbage and construction debris on Mahanadi river bed, expired drugs and expired food materials are being openly disposed of in the river near Bhuasuni Patha. The dumping on the river bed in violation of National Green Tribunal (NGT) order continues unabated with the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) preferring to turn a blind eye to it. Huge quantity of expired veterinary medicines and bags filled with expired noodles packets are found to have been dumped on the river bed adjacent to the stream. The unsafe disposal of expired medicines and outdated foodstuff has also claimed the life of a cow. “One of my milking cows died and two other have taken ill with symptoms of stomach bloating on Monday after consuming the waste dumped at the site,” said Sanjay Kumar Das of Bhuasuni Slum adding that the cows had consumed spurious drugs while grazing on the river bed on Sunday. The expired medicines and expired foodstuff have been dumped by some citybased distributers two days back, said the dwellers of Bhuasuni Slum.

How an Indian tycoon fought Big Pharma to sell AIDS drugs for $1 a day

Quartz India- Katherine Eban

Dr. Yusuf Hamied of Cipla was a prolific reader of medical journals, with an annual subscription budget that topped $150,000 (Rs1 crore at current rates). One day in 1986, he was introduced to something he knew nothing about. A colleague mentioned, “According to the Tufts report, AZT is the only drug available for AIDS.” “What is AIDS?” Hamied responded. At the time of Hamied’s question, the disease had barely surfaced in most of India. But it was brewing so forcefully in Bombay’s red-light district, not far from Cipla’s headquarters that within a few years the city would earn the moniker “AIDS capital of India.” In 1991, Rama Rao, the research head of an Indian government laboratory, told Hamied that he had developed a chemical synthesis of AZT, or azidothymidine, and wanted Cipla to manufacture it. It was the only drug that postponed the onset of AIDS. But just one company, Burroughs Wellcome in the United States, made it, and it was selling the drug at roughly $8,000 per patient a year. Hamied readily agreed to manufacture it and launched the drug in 1993 at less than one-tenth of the international price, or about $2 a day.