Union Minister of State Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh, on World TB Day, launched Dare2eraD TB, data-driven research to eradicate TB.
Dare2eraD TB will be the umbrella TB programme of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science & Technology, comprising key initiatives, namely InTGS (Indian Tuberculosis Genomic Surveillance Consortium), InTBK Hub (Indian TB Knowledge Hub) – Webinar Series, and host-directed therapies against TB and developing an evidence-based regimen for treating extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.
Jitendra Singh said that InTGS is proposed on lines of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG). The InTBK Hub will be a webinar series starting from World TB Day that will create an academia-industry connections to discuss challenges and exchange ideas and carry forward open innovations between all TB stakeholders.
The minister said that to fully understand the biological characteristics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and the effect of mutations on transmission, treatment and disease severity, analysing the genomic data of the organism is essential, as the whole genome sequencing (WGS) is increasingly gaining traction as an important molecular tool for TB surveillance.
He emphasised that the effective use of WGS technology would allow rapid identification of the origin and drug resistance profile of the TB strains in patients, helping treatment strategies and eventually reducing disease burden.
The DBT has also cultivated international partnerships for tuberculosis research, informed the minister at the launch event, Step Up to End TB, held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
The Regional Prospective Observational Research in Tuberculosis (RePORT) India initiative, a bilateral collaborative effort, is being supported under Indo-US Vaccine Action Programme (VAP), to advance tuberculosis (TB) research in India, while another major network programme on “MDR-TB in North-East India: a genomic driven approach” involves 22 NER institutes from eight states and 14 institutes, he added.
Step Up to End TB was inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, in presence of union health and family welfare minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, and minister of state for health and family welfare Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar.