Hyderabad: An indigenous and cost-effective diagnostic tool for tuberculosis (TB) is expected to be available in a year, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Soumya Swaminathan said.
“A Bengaluru-based company has made the new diagnostic tool which is going to be more point-of-care and we hope it will be as good as GeneXpert test,” she told PTI here on the sidelines of 17th International Congress on Infectious Diseases.
“If our evaluation shows positive result, then it may replace GeneXpert. The idea is to reduce the cost and have an indigenous diagnostic tool,” Swaminathan said.
GeneXpert is a popular test for detecting TB that provides result in a couple of hours with minimal hands-on technical time.
“The evaluation will be over in the next three months. If it is found to be good, production will be scaled up. That may take another six months or so. It maybe a year before the diagnostic tool is available,” she said.
ICMR is focused on research for better treatment strategies and diagnostics and is also working to speed up rapid diagnostics for TB, Swaminathan said.
“But implementation of the programme is also equally important,” she said.
ICMR is also working on developing vaccines for major infections, malaria and HIV. The phase-one trial for malaria vaccine should start very soon as the necessary approvals have been obtained, Swaminathan said.
It has applied for regulatory clearance to start the phase-three trial for a new vaccine (a recombinant VCG vaccine) for TB, Swaminathan added.