The buzz around finding a cure for HIV/AIDS is growing stronger. Researchers working in this area appear increasingly sanguine about ending this scourge in the near future.
Vaccines, the most powerful public health tools available, are set to play a powerful role in ending the scourge of the AIDS epidemic, researchers say.
A pioneer in HIV research, the company believes that through relentless pursuit for a cure, the HIV epidemic can be ended once and for all.
ViiV Healthcare is a global leader focused on innovative medicines for HIV treatment and prevention. Majority owned by GSK, the HIV specialist company has Pfizer Inc and Shionogi as shareholders.
New figures indicate that new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are on the decline in India.
An in vitro diagnostic test for the detection of HIV-1 genomic drug resistance mutations (DRMs) will hit the market soon.
Researchers warn that the post-antibiotic era is now upon us. The post-antibiotic era is a scenario in which all antibiotic medicines lose their powers. In such a situation, there will be no surgeries, no cancer therapy, and certainly no organ transplants. Even a minor injury, like that from a fall, can prove fatal. If antibiotics […]
The last new class of antibiotics was discovered in 1984, ending the ‘golden era’ of antibiotics. Quite a few antimicrobial discovery programmes have been abandoned since the early 1990s. This is largely because a new antibiotic requires decades of research, but will remain effective only for a few years, until the bacterium acquires resistance. New […]
WAAAR (World Alliance Against Antibiotic Resistance) is a not-for-profit NGO based in Paris. As a research, advocacy and practice forum dedicated to overcoming antibiotic resistance, its programmes have been endorsed by more than 140 societies or professional groups throughout the world. In an interview, Dr Jean Carlet MD, President of WAAAR and Chair of the […]
The efficacy of most of the medicines usually remains the same even if used for prolonged periods and by many people. Antibiotics are an important exception. This is because of the gradual rise in anti-microbial resistance. To reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, the WHO has developed a tool to help global, regional and national […]
Antimicrobials are used in different sectors and resistant microorganisms can arise in humans, animals, plants or the environment. Resistance developed in one area can easily be transferred to another, such as that from bacteria infecting animals being transferred to bacteria infecting humans, or the same resistant bacteria moving from humans to animals or vice versa. […]
SIndia’s Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, which came into force in May last year, has been hailed as a big leap forward in safeguarding the rights of people with mental illness. The new legislation looks to empower persons suffering from various mental disorders by enabling access to healthcare and treatment from the government without discrimination. […]
Armed with weapons provided by cutting-edge science and technology, modern psychiatry is off to a blazing start. Mental disorders have been poorly understood for centuries. Modern psychiatry, however, is now trying to identify biological indicators of mental illnesses by exploring the genetic, cellular and neural-network perturbations that underlie many of these conditions. Genome-wide association studies […]
The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) is an international multidisciplinary advocacy and education organization. It was founded in 1948 with goals of preventing mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health. WFMH has been an NGO with consultative status at the United […]
MHCA2017 has set new criteria for admission, treatment and discharge of mentally ill people. It stipulates that patients who do not meet the criteria of ‘substantial disorder with gross impairments’ cannot be admitted even if they are keen to do so and the doctor is willing to provide treatment. Clinicians argue that such a condition […]
Despondency and madness are, perhaps, the most loathed and most feared terms. The list of mental disorders is long and varied. It includes a wide spectrum of behavioural and cognitive disorders, ranging from anxiety to autism, depression to dementia and addiction to schizophrenia. Virtually everyone suffers from some form of mental health issues at some […]
The management of serious mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, psychoses of various kinds and anxiety neuroses, usually involves many factors, including a long-standing relationship of trust and empathy between the patient and the therapist. A non-human interface, where much of the interaction is conducted via a computer screen or a mobile device, has limited applications […]
When aspiring doctors enter their clinical training years in medical college, one of the first lessons they are given is: Primum non nocere — “First, do no harm”. In the lengthy careers of doctors and other healthcare professionals, they are faced with many medical situations that are beyond their power to remedy. At the same […]
Aseries of random interviews with practicing clinicians in several cities revealed a mixed picture with considerable awareness of the September 17 occasion among doctors associated with big corporate hospitals and very little knowledge among those working in small healthcare organizations. Dr M I Sahadulla, Chairman & Managing Director of KIMS Healthcare Group, one of Asia’s […]
Dr B K Rana was one of the original founders of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) in 2005 and was associated with the organization till 2017. Then he set up an independent centre known as Quality and Accreditation Institute (QAI). Here he talks about his experiences in leading the quality movement in India. […]
If human intelligence is the capacity to assimilate new information, assess its implications and relative importance and to come to a conclusion that guides decision making, then Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technology to make machines do the same thing. These technologies include machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision and chatbots. The potential for […]
In May this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a resolution that September 17 each year would henceforth be observed as World Patient Safety Day and it would be officially included in the WHO list of healthcare dates. It would hence be observed in all 194 member states of the WHO. This was the […]
For the first time, perhaps after several years, the finance minister appeared before the parliament bereft of the customary `budget briefcase’ — the hallmark of the budget ritually carried by Indian FMs on the big day.
While there is a sharp spike in spending on sectors like agriculture, the Union Budget 2019-20 has grossly overlooked healthcare as a priority, say experts.
India is lagging behind in many critical health indicators compared with countries having similar levels of economic development, according to Health Index 2019 published by NITI Aayog, India’s policy think tank.
Nipah virus (NiV) has resurfaced in Kerala exactly a year after its first-ever outbreak, leaving open several puzzling questions.
Nipah virus (NiV), which is classified as a highly pathogenic biosafety level-4 agent, is a bat-borne paramyxovirus belonging to the henipavirus family.
In Malaysia, when the first-ever and the biggest outbreak occurred, authorities identified infected pigs acting as intermediary hosts predominantly transmitting infections to humans.
There were 23 probable positive cases of Nipah virus infection reported in Kerala in the two outbreaks in May 2018 and June 2019.
Reliable diagnostics are the key to the prevention and management of NiV disease. Current diagnostics for NiV include laboratory-based serological testing and nucleic acid amplification techniques.
In the 2018 outbreak in Kerala, only the index case was infected in the community. All the others got the infection via nosocomial transmission in 3 different hospitals.
When the NiV outbreak occurred in Kerala, it was confirmed within 12 hours of notification, and that too, with no help from outside the country.
Dr Christopher Broder is Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), United States Department of Defence.
No child should die at the dawn of life was the motto of Danny Thomas, the founder of the world-famous St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis to treat children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases
Even as chemotherapy and radiotherapy remain the main modes of treating cancer, an increased understanding of the underlying biology has helped to make real progress with new drugs.
Cancers in children are relatively uncommon. They represent less than 1% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in the US each year
Dr Timothy Triche M.D., Ph.D., is co-director, Center for Personalized Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Adoption of uniform guidelines has improved the outcome of paediatric cancers worldwide.
Asthma is a heterogeneous disease, characterised by inflammation of the air passages of the lungs.
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are antibodies produced artificially through genetic engineering and related techniques.
Andy Nish, MD is Fellow of American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (FAAAAI) and the President of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) — Allergy and Asthma, GA. Dr Nish talks about the impact of biologics therapy in asthma, as well as the other advances in better defining and managing the chronic airway inflammatory disease. Edited excerpts
Researchers at the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma and Cardiff University found that people with asthma have more of a special type of calcium receptor in their lungs than people without asthma.
Asthma is a multifactorial disease with a complex genetic inheritance. Collective evidence suggests that genetic factors account for approximately 60–80% of its susceptibility.
Asthma is a well-recognized medical condition. However, there is not one universal, agreed-upon definition for the disease
The latest numbers pertaining to malaria have raised the fear that the disease may be on a comeback trail in several regions of the world, wiping out the hard-earned gains of yesteryears. Since 2010, fresh cases of malaria had been declining steadily, reflecting the high efficacy of the new artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and other […]
Drug combinations with artemisinin as the lead have become the first and second line treatment against malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum.
Over 219 million new cases of malaria were reported in 2017, 2 millions more from 217 million a year before
An international non-profit organization, PATH is a leader in malaria vaccine development. RTS,S, the most advanced vaccine candidate, has been developed by PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) in association with GlaxoSmithKline.
Finding conventional methods of malaria control insufficient to eliminate the disease, some researchers have turned to genetics to control the mosquito population.
In the year 1821, John Keats, one of the most celebrated English poets, died of consumption at the age of 25. Centuries later, that ‘consumptive disease’ still takes a toll of millions of lives the world
No new antibiotic has been developed to fight tuberculosis for several decades. The emergence of more lethal drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is now forcing a change in the status quo.
Dr Mel Spigelman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance). He is a leader in developing a regimen-based paradigm of TB drug development – a faster and more efficient approach, which is emerging as the gold standard within the TB drug research field.
India has set an ambitious target to eliminate TB by 2025. The goal is to end the country’s leading infectious disease five years ahead of the global target of 2030.
Even though India declared TB a notifiable disease in the year 2012, the level of notification has not risen to expectations. All medical practitioners in the country have to notify their TB patients to the government registry.
Bedaquiline is the first anti-TB drug developed in over four decades. The cost of the treatment goes up to $30,000 for a six-month course.
The WHO has revamped the treatment guidelines for MDR and rifampicin-resistant (RR-TB) even as multi-drug resistance poses a threat to the End TB Strategy.
An experimental vaccine, called ID93, developed by scientists at the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) in Seattle, has advanced to phase 2 clinical testing.
The number of desolate people who are desperately groping in the recesses of their memory even to find own names are going up exponentially by the day as a cloud of dementia descent upon the elderly in the world’s second most populous country
Besides older age and a family history of Alzheimer’s, carrying the ApoE-e4 gene is the greatest risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s
A large number of potential therapeutic candidates have been studied for Alzheimer’s disease for the last two decades with very few reaching the final stage of commercialisation
A large, genome-wide study on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is expected to start soon in India.
Dr Howard Fillit, MD is Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer of Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), New York
Two proteins in the brain are heavily involved in the development of Alzheimer’s, agree most scientists
Washington University scientists, in collaboration with C2N Diagnostics, showed that the protein tau increases in blood after peripheral administration of an anti-tau antibody.
Medical imaging is on the threshold of a new era, thanks to new boundary-pushing tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data.
Leaders in the segment are experimenting with novel approaches to make imaging sessions more easy and patient-friendly.
Dr Hemant Patel is President Elect, Indian Radiological & Imaging Association (IRIA) — a national body promoting the study and the practice of diagnostic, radiological and imaging modalities.
The rapid development of positron emission tomography (PET) and MR technology in the last few decades has led to multimodality imaging devices.
A new MRI technique that could potentially obviate the need for biopsies to identify composition and aggressiveness of a tumour.
Tata Trusts’ Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE) launched a portable MRI scanner in India in June 2018.
The human immunodeficiency virus continues to evade a cure even after several decades of its discovery. Around 36.9 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of the year 2017, according to UNAIDS figures. Global efforts have helped to bring down the mortality rates of the HIV-infected significantly. Cocktails of highly active antiretrovirals […]
UNAIDS, the joint United Nations programme on HIV and AIDS, set the target that by the year 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Adar Poonawalla is the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India (SII). Headquartered in Pune, western India, SII is currently the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by the number of doses produced.
A clinical study using gene-edited T cells designed to eradicate persistent HIV infection in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy is expected to start in 2018.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine. It is approved for daily use to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who is positive.
India’s Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, came into force on September 10, 2018, the health ministry announced.
Immunotherapy stepped onto the hall of fame by winning the 2018 Nobel prize for medicine. Through their landmark discovery, Professor James P Allison from the US and Professor Tasuku Honjo from Japan have outlined how immune checkpoints can be effectively targeted to deal with the toughest of cancers.
NSCLC tumours overexpress the immunosuppressive checkpoint protein programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) to evade detection and attack by immune cells. Inhibiting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis with monoclonal antibodies has significantly changed the treatment approach in lung cancer during the last 5 years.
Cancer immunotherapy has been in the doghouse for decades. The work of the two investigators, James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, resurrected it so that it plays a prominent role in the therapeutic armamentarium in future.
According to Dr Manish Chandra, Chief Radio Oncologist at Jupiter Hospital, Thane, gated radiation therapy is an exciting and comparatively new option for treating lung cancer.
Efforts to develop vaccines against lung cancer always stalled in the face of challenges and several previous attempts have proved ineffective. It is now recognised that immune-suppressive factors exist in the microenvironment of tumour cells.
Empowering a mother is enabling a brighter future for the country. A major goal of clinicians is to bring down maternal mortality and premature births and do prenatal defect detection. This goal can be achieved by prenatal screening for birth defects, which, until recently,
Single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs are small differences in the genetic code that do not cause disease but allow the creation of a unique DNA fingerprint for every individual.
MedGenome Labs, a genomics-based research and diagnostics company, offers genetic testing for couples with a family history of hearing loss.
In August this year, India’s health ministry proposed mandatory genetic screening of all pregnant women for thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. Thalassemia is a significant health challenge in India with about 10,000 to 15,000 babies with β-thalassemia major born each year.
Until recently infectious diseases and malnutrition have been the predominant cause of morbidity and mortality. With recent control of these diseases, genetic disorders have become more apparent. Earlier they were hidden by the overwhelming presence of infectious diseases.
The trajectory to determine the risk of foetal abnormalities of genetic origin has been made a lot simpler and safer for clinicians today with the advent of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT).
Traditionally, surgical replacement was the gold standard therapy for severe aortic and mitral valve diseases. But with increasing survival, these conditions have become more common in the elderly population with multiple other comorbidities. Such patients are considered to be high
risk and inoperable. Catheter-based therapies have emerged as a low-risk alternative for these patients with unmet clinical needs.
Another transcatheter device that is making waves in interventional cardiology is Micra pacemakers. Micra is a small, single chamber, leadless transcatheter pacing system delivered percutaneously directly into the right ventricle.
Impella heart pump is a percutaneous ventricular assist device to temporarily aid the flow of blood while the patient is undergoing an elective or urgent high-risk percutaneous cardiac intervention (PCI) procedure.
Dr. Tyrone J Collins is currently Director of Interventional Cardiology, Ochsner Clinic, and affiliated with Ochsner Medical Foundation New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
There was one thing common between an 82-year-old patient on ventilator and dialysis due to cardiogenic shock, an 81-year-old cancer survivor in and out of the intensive care unit due to recurrent cardiac decompensation,
Transcatheter procedures are taking centre-stage in cardiovascular medicine as a less-invasive alternative to open heart surgeries that involve splitting open the rib cage to get access to the vital organ.
Replacement of heart valves via catheterisation leaves a very small, often unrecognisable, scar at access points, such as upper thighs, compared to deep sternal wounds in traditional heart surgeries. Surgical replacement of aortic valve accounts for about 10-15% of all sternotomy, experts say.
Every cell and tissue type in our body undergoes a natural process of shedding pieces of DNA into our blood, possibly due to cellular mechanisms called apoptosis or necrosis or secretion.
The debate is hotting up whether emerging blood-based genetic tests could eventually do away with invasive and troublesome tissue biopsies to determine cancer
The world is awakening to a new era in which detection of cancer is made possible by a simple blood draw at the doctor’s office.
If the country wants to hit its target of eliminating the disease, extensive screening and vaccination are the only way forward, says Dr Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan
Innate immune proteins have been fighting infections in all living organisms for millions of years and bacteria have never been able to develop resistance against them. Despite this well-known fact, no one explored the possibility of leveraging this mechanism to counter one of the worst medical crises in modern times: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Now, for […]
Quality care in a hospital is a combination of several standards and practices and not just the medical procedure. While medicine itself is an art that is based on science and clinical evidence, quality care also requires a culture that values not only the patient’s disease, but also his emotional wellbeing as well the confidence […]
Along with a distinguished career in the Army Medical Corps (AMC), Air Marshal (Dr) Pawan Kapoor has also been one of the strongest voices in India’s Healthcare Quality movement. He has been a founder member of the NABH and continues to serve as a mentor to the NABH. He retired in December 2017 as Director-General, […]
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Indian women in terms of incidence as well as mortality. Its prevalence in younger age-groups in India is higher than the global average.
For Metropolis, the next level of growth is not merely chasing business but making an impact in the community with the science that it deals with.
Thyrocare Technologies Ltd, which disrupted India’s biochemistry tests and general diagnostics scene with rock bottom prices more than a decade ago and grabbed a sizable share in the Rs 40,000 crore market, has now entered the NGS segment
Vijay Chandru, Co-Founder and Director, Strand Life Sciences, and INAE Distinguished Technologist at Indian Institute of Science, is an academic turned entrepreneur.
Dr Patrick Serruys is one of the greatest authorities on angioplasty and coronary stenting in the world today. Currently, he is the Director of the Clinical Research Program of the Catheterization Laboratory,
There are quite a few in the development stage across the globe, targeting ribosomes. But, in general, it seems that many of the big companies do not think that antibiotics are a profitable business for them.
Prof K Rajasekharan Nair was the former Director, Professor & Head, Department of Neurology, Medical College, Trivandrum. One of the pioneering leaders in neurosciences in India
India’s first scientifically documented IVF baby Harsha Chawda is 33 years old now and is the mother of two —a boy and a girl, who were also born in the same hands that gave birth to their mother three decades ago.
HIV surveillance is now carried out only by the government of India. Surveillance by private organisations has almost stopped now.
It is important to make sure that scientists have access to the best advice so that they can get their research published quickly and in a robust form that can be used as a research tool by other people. Any research, which meets the basic and the strong elements of novelty and conceptual advance shouldn’t ideally face any such issue.
One of the major breakthroughs in the area of gynaecological endoscopy that the world is now waiting for is cheaper robotic surgery. And, it is shortly expected from India, a country that has already produced many innovative endoscopic devices and is also home to…
One of the serious concerns in the Indian healthcare scenario at present is the absence of a compulsory continued medical education (CME) system for doctors to update themselves with the fast-evolving changes in medical science.
Dr B S Ajaikumar is chairman and CEO of Health Care Global. He founded HCG to realize his vision of making advanced cancer care accessible to all. His contribution to the field of cancer care in India as well as his success as a first-generation physician-entrepreneur has been widely recognised.