The TB Quest Awards were given at a function hosted by the India Health Fund and supported by the Global Coalition against TB in the Capital recently. The five awardees were Guests of Honour on this occasion were Dr. Kirit Solanki, Member of Parliament, Mr. Dalbir Singh, President Global Coalition Against TB, Dr. Henk Bekedam, Representative to India, World Health Organisation, and Dr. KS Sachdeva, Deputy Director-General, Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) Government of India.
TB has been a long-standing health challenge for India, accounting for nearly 4 lakh deaths annually. With over 21 lakh TB cases reported, the country accounts for 27 percent of the global TB burden. The Government of India has set a target of eliminating TB by 2025, a vision that demands innovative ideas, bold approaches, and unprecedented investments by stakeholders across the board.
India Health Fund (IHF) is an initiative seeded by the Tata Trusts and endeavors to strengthen India's ability to fight and eliminate the public health challenges of Tuberculosis and Malaria. It has been created as a platform to aggregate risk capital from multiple sources in private and public sectors and allocates capital efficiently to the most promising and relevant innovations. India Health Fund supports innovators to accelerate their "lab to market" journey, most importantly the validation and adoption by the health systems.
TB Quest would not only help to transform the key aspects of a TB Care Ecosystem but greatly contribute towards the government's initiatives in the fight against TB by providing them with the prerequisite science and technology innovations to do the same efficiently.
The Awardees and their Path-breaking Initiatives
CisGEN Biotech Discoveries Private Limited has focussed on the problem of transmission of TB from animals to humans by creating an innovative technological kit that combines native and recombinant antigens to detect bovine TB. It also helps to distinguish between Mycobacterium Tuberculosis infection and Environmental Mycobacteria infection. The Animal TB kit test can be performed in any field without any expertise with minimal risk. However, the final evaluation of the kits will be performed at dairy farms and veterinary centers.
Qure.ai Technologies Private Limited has investigated the problem of the false and slow diagnosis of the disease, especially in remote areas. The company has curated Qure.ai, an AI (artificial intelligence) start-up that applies AI and deep learning technology to radiology imaging for quick and accurate diagnosis of Tuberculosis. Qure.ai’s AI-driven solution is being evaluated across the globe through various foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, International Organization for Migration, etc. Their goal is to generate 100,000 analog-to-digital datasets which will ease the detection of Tuberculosis and ensure early treatment.
Valetude Primus Healthcare Pvt. Ltd has invented a device that has made the collection of sputum faster and more efficient. The immune-magnetic cell capture technology (iMC2) can be used at the community level to replace sputum smear microscopy for diagnosing tuberculosis.
Centre for Health Research and Innovation works at creating an ecosystem that leads to faster diagnosis and treatment for TB patients. The Truelab TM Real-Time quantitative micro-PCR system provides a real-time, battery-operated, point-of-care PCR testing and molecular diagnosis to patients. This helps in rapid diagnosis and focussed treatment and leads to better disease control.
Sensedose Technologies has developed the TMEAD -- Tuberculosis Monitoring Encouragement Adherence Drive. It provides alarm based and digital notification-based reminders to patients and all prescribed medicines are pre-sorted and pre-filled. This will help in better adherence to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).