New Delhi: With multi-drug resistant tuberculosis emerging as a major obstacle in the fight against tuberculosis, healthcare experts have advocated the need for a collective move towards improved diagnostic mechanisms that help in accurate diagnosis of drug resistant strains of TB.
This World TB Day, leading medical technology company BD collaborated with AIIMS to conduct symposiums about appropriate diagnostic mechanisms to fight drug resistant TB.
The symposium at AIIMS conducted in collaboration with BD was inaugurated by Dr. V M Katoch, Former Director General - ICMR and presided over by Prof. SK Acharya - Dean of Research, AIIMS. Leading experts who attended the event included Dr. Rajesh Kapur, Advisor, Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India; Dr. Sunil Khaparde, DDG-TB, Govt of India; Prof. D. Behera from PGIMER, Chandigarh; Dr. R Ichhpujani from Clinton Foundation; Dr. Sanjay Sarin, from FIND; Dr. Puneet Deewan from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr Upasna Agarwal from NIRTD, Delhi; Prof. SK Kabra from AIIMS.
The experts highlighted that inaccurate and delayed diagnosis continues to be a major challenge, which also perpetuates spread of drug resistant TB. They emphasized that adoption of liquid-based TB drug susceptibility testing on a larger scale is key to improve timely diagnosis of drug resistant TB.
"Inaccurate and delayed diagnosis of TB continues to be a challenge in both public and private sectors. In early stages when the drug resistance starts developing, a new crop of MDR bacteria erupts which cannot be detected by molecular methods but only by liquid culture methods and therefore, whenever there is a suspicion of MDR-TB the samples must be subjected to phenotypic second line drug susceptibility testing, using liquid culture systems," emphasized Prof. Sarman Singh, Head, Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine, AIIMS, who led the symposium.
His team's worrying findings published in 2011 demonstrate that approximately 4.5 percent of family members of a TB patient do not seek medical attention despite getting infected.
To build the capability in understanding the phenotypic TB drug susceptibility testing technology in India, BD has been working with Revised National TB Control Program for TB culture and drug susceptibility testing in laboratories across India. Under the initiative, best practices are being taught using BD MGITTM liquid culture systems, quality control and quality assurance of laboratory practices.
"World TB Day is an opportunity for people everywhere to join this fight by helping to educate others about TB and by urging everyone to take action. TB treatment and control programs should focus on accurate and timely diagnosis, identification of clinically appropriate treatment regimens, patient monitoring and follow-up. We are privileged to work with AIIMS to advance the world of health by bringing appropriate technology solutions for TB diagnosis in India," said Varun Khanna, managing director - India & South Asia, BD.
WHO statistics for 2014 suggest an estimated incidence of 2.2 million cases of TB in India out of a global incidence of 9 million. TB cases with MDR-TB range from 2-3 percent in new cases and 11-19% in retreatment TB cases with the disease spreading rampantly.