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Vidyya, from the Sanskrit "vaidya," a practitioner who has come to understand the science of life.

Volume 2 Published - 14:00 UTC    08:00 EST    13-March-2001      
Issue 72 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST    14-March-2001      

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Back To Vidyya India Develops AIDS Detection Kit

Diagnostic Facilities For HIV To Be Set Up In All Districts

India's first indigenously developed AIDS / HIV detection kit will hit the Indian health care market soon. The kit developed by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) was released in India today for commercial production by the Minister of State for science and technology Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, in the presence of the Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. C.P. Thakur.

The technology transferred to a leading New Delhi firm which perfected it further by developing methods for stabilising the reagents necessary for assembling the kit and had also packaged the same into saleable form. The kit will be sold in the form of a strip. Appearance of specific bands on the strip will decide about the status of the blood or sera sample subjected to evaluation.

Launching the kit Shri Rawat said, it will be the first of its kind to be marketed from India in the entire South Asian region. Not only that, the kit will have a major share in the global market too. Being much cheaper than its foreign counterparts, it is expected to earn a lot of foreign exchange for the country, he said.

The uniqueness about the kit is that it is developed through the HIV strain prevalent in India. The kits available so far in the country employed HIV strains prevalent in the world, Shri Rawat said. The University-Industry research on various aspects of modern biology is being supported in a big way, with the result, a number of indigenous technologies are being developed and transferred to the industry. It will not be an exaggeration to say that biotechnology holds the key to socio-economic progress in this century Shri Rawat said.

The Health Minister Dr. C.P. Thakur, who was the guest of honour cautioned that currently over 30 million people are infected with HIV worldwide and about 16,000 new cases are reported every day. India is the 2nd largest in HIV positive population, with adults alone totalling anywhere between 3 to 5 million. The identification of individual carriers of HIV is central to public health strategies to combat the disease. Testing for HIV, therefore, plays a significant role in the AIDS prevention programme.

The Minister announced that AIDS/ HIV diagnostic facilities will soon be set up in all the districts of the country. The population explosion in India also contributes to a steep rise in HIV positive cases, he said. Like diagnosis, finding effective treatment for AIDS is also very important. We must pool all our energies and strength to check AIDS which is feared as the worst enemy of mankind, Dr. Thakur averred.

The Secretary, DBT Dr. Manju Sharma said that her department is also engaged in the development of several other cost-effective kits, in association with national laboratories, universities and the industry. Kits for the detection of many communicable diseases are in the advanced stage of development.

The Human Immuno Deficiency Virus HIV designated as HIV 1 and HIV 2 are the ineffective agents in humans causing the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), at the terminal stage of the disease. Presently all the western blot kits are being imported, costing anywhere between 25 to 30 dollars per unit.

The project to develop an indigenous / complete western blot kit was launched in 1993 and now an immortal cell-line has been established for producing the indigenous western blot kit.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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