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
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
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.