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UK and India Come Together to Combat Tuberculosis in India

Multidisciplinary workshop is being organised at Chennai
University of Edinburgh crest

Chennai, 3 June 2019: The University of Edinburgh and the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis are conducting a 4 day workshop with participants from the UK & India with focus on “Achieving rapid, accurate and affordable diagnosis of tuberculosis and drug resistant tuberculosis in minimally resourced settingsfrom 3 to 6 June 2019 in Chennai. The workshop aims to bring together experts and researchers from various disciplines to accelerate the elimination of TB in India through the development of newer tools for diagnosing TB.

The workshop will witness 40 delegates from the UK and India, including experts and young researchers from varied disciplines, such as Chemistry, Microbiology, Clinical TB, Mycobacterial Chemistry, Optical Physics, Immunology and Engineering, to engage in collaborative thinking to develop practical solutions. It will bring together day-to-day practitioners, users of TB/drug-resistant TB diagnostics, alongside those with the skill sets to develop, design and build new tools and technologies. The participants will discuss the key needs of patients, clinicians and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) stated deliverables of affordable, reliable and primary care TB diagnostics with an impact on large numbers of TB patients in India.

The workshop will also provide opportunities for young UK and Indian scientists, technologists and engineers to develop an understanding of the unmet and clinically challenging problems that exist in the field of TB diagnosis within India. This will be achieved through visits to the health care centres around Chennai and mentoring by experts. The young scientists will gain experience across disciplines, insights into the ability to develop new technologies, and will help build and foster new UK-India collaborations to combat TB.

The two Institutions are already partners in a multilateral project ARREST-TB aimed at developing affordable TB diagnostics. However, given the dynamics and the scale of the disease, there is a dire necessity for new ideas, approaches, technologies and multi-disciplinary partnerships. Therefore, the two institutes have partnered with National AIDS Research Institute (India), Indian Institute of Science, the Institute of Microbiology and infection at the University of Birmingham, Heriot Watt University, University of Southampton and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to conduct this workshop.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a global health threat and India is one of the most affected countries with close to 3 million cases and 500,000 deaths per year (Source: WHO TB burden estimates and country-reported TB data). However, the lack of affordable and rapid diagnostics is a huge barrier in ensuring accurate diagnosis and limiting TB propagation.

We believe that this workshop will generate ideas that will lead to world-leading TB diagnostic technologies, enable development of new international ties for longer-term joint research activities between the two countries. It will also encourage engagement of researchers among partner institutions, and ultimately help in reducing India’s TB burden. This is also a great opportunity for the young researchers to be mentored by Research Leaders from both countries, such as Professor Mark Bradley, Professor Sundarrajan Asokan, Professor James Fleck, Professor Hazel Dockrelland as well as seek more knowledge from the TB expertise of Dr Srikanth Tripathy and his team at the world-renowned National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis.

Dr Seshasailam Venkateswaran of University of Edinburgh, workshop coordinator

India has one of the highest incidences of TB in the world; more than 27 lakh Indians are affected by it. One of the major issues is the misdiagnosis of the disease because of which it not only goes untreated but the infected person in turn spreads TB to others. The British Council aims to bring together the best minds in the field to support collaboration and help bring India closer to combating the deadly disease. The Newton Bhabha Fund is the vehicle that supports this goal in India, and we hope that this workshop brings us closer to accurate diagnosis for everyone, regardless of income.

Janaka Pushpanathan, Director South India, British Council

At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we are proud to be a partner in this British Council Newton-Bhabha Fund Researcher Links Workshop. Since 2016, we have match-funded 27 such workshops in India, on global challenge areas such as sustainability, energy and antimicrobial resistance. We hope that this workshop will lead to new relationships and collaborations between UK and Indian scientists, and encourage further research in this important area.

Dr Jo Reynolds, Royal Society of Chemistry Director of Science and Communities

This workshop is supported by a Researcher Links grant under the Newton Bhabha Fund. The grant is funded by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry and delivered by the British Council.

Further details of the workshop can be found on the School of Chemistry website or by contacting Dr Seshasailam Venkateswaran at sesha.venkateswaran@ed.ac.uk .

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year, we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

For more information, please contact

Shonali Ganguli | shonali.ganguli@in.britishcouncil.org |

British Council Division | British High Commission

About Newton-Bhabha Fund

In India, the Newton Fund is known as the Newton-Bhabha Fund. The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 18 partner countries to support economic development and social welfare, and to develop research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK Government investment across all countries of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries. The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 15 UK delivery partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office.

For further information visit the Newton Fund website and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund.

About the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry works to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity. With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists; supporting and representing our members and bringing together scientists from all over the world. As a not-for-profit organisation with more than 175 years of heritage and an ambitious international vision for the future, we promote, support and celebrate chemistry.

About ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world. ICMR’s research priorities align with the National health priorities. These efforts are undertaken with a view to reduce the total burden of disease and to promote health and well-being of the population. ICMR promotes biomedical research in the country through intramural as well as extramural research.

More information about the British Council

Keerthi Samata| Head Marketing – South India Keerthi.Samata@in.britishcouncil.org
British Council Division | British High Commission

For media information

Ambika Gondane | ambika.gondane@archetype.co | +91 9711764188

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Friday, May 31, 2019
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