Nagpur: Even today, half of the deaths caused by bacterial-viral infections in the world are unknown. This unknown bacterium-virus will be studied at the Central India Institute of Medical Sciences (CIIMS) in Nagpur. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of America has selected CIIMS, the only organization in India for this project, media reports said.
According to reports, under the project, DNA and RSA analysis of undiagnosed patients after bacteriological screening in Central India will be conducted at CIIMS. For this, more than 200 patients will be examined and this project will last for about two years. For that, a genetic testing sequencer has been provided to CIIMS. Due to this sequencer, genetic changes can be brought to the notice of the doctors immediately along with the quick diagnosis of the diseases of the patients here. Due to this research, medical experts will know about bacteria and viruses that no one knows about.
Research Director of CIIMS Rajpal Singh Kashyap said that if the information about new bacteria and viruses comes forward, it will help to reduce the death due to various diseases. He said that this project will be held in five to seven centres in the world, one centre being in Belgium, one centre in India and one centre in each of the other countries.
Dr. Dinesh Kabra said, any infection first reaches the blood and then finally reaches the brain. Therefore, this project will make it possible to diagnose the bacteria-virus in the first stage and treat the concerned patient.
Dr. Amit Nayak said, ‘Meningoencephalitis (ME) is caused by bacterial-viral and fungal species near the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This disease causes many deaths in the country. The information about the bacteria and viruses that are the cause of these deaths can be known through this project.
Dr. Ali Abbas Hussain and Dr. Amit Nayak said, Bill Gates Foundation has a lot of studies on bacteria and viruses. They have a huge list of all these studies. If the information of new bacteria and viruses in India is entered in their ‘software’ under this project, the world will know about the bacteria and viruses that are compatible and incompatible with it.
Meanwhile, according to another report, the Research Centre at Dr G M Taori Central India Institute of Medical Sciences (CIIMS) Hospital, Nagpur has been awarded the prestigious Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project to work on the Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques for the diagnosis of undiagnosed meningoencephalitis (ME) in India.
The total funding received under the project is around Rs 1.62 crore (approx. 200,00 USD) for the period of two years and is co-supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Bio hub and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, San Francisco, California, USA.
The funding has been received as part of the Grand Challenges Initiative by both foundations to enable populations in low- and middle-resource settings to benefit from cutting-edge pathogen detection, discovery, and characterization. CIIMS is the only institute in India that has received funding under the present grand challenges call for proposal.
Dr Rajpal Singh Kashyap, Director of Research at CIIMS, is the project’s lead researcher. He indicated that this research will help Neuro-infection patients who remain undiagnosed. If this works out, he said then we will be able to identify the unknown organism which will help the clinical team to provide the correct and right treatment at the early stage of infection.
It will try to establish a centre of excellence for the whole central Indian population to provide these services. Other key investigating team includes Dr Amit Nayak and Dr Aliabbas Husain, Research Consultants; CIIMS Research Centre, along with CIIMS ace neurologists Dr Neeraj Baheti, Dr Dinesh Kabra, and Dr Nitin Chandak.
As part of the award proceedings, Dr Rajpal Singh Kashyap was invited to this year’s annual meeting co-hosted by the European Commission, Grand Challenges, Canada, The United States Agency for International Development, Wellcome, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation held in Brussels, Belgium in October. Dr Lokendra Singh, Director, CIIMS, and Management of the CIIMS congratulated the team and mentioned it’s an honour and a proud moment for CIIMS. Kalyani Kanhere, Ph. D. scholar, CIIMS; was appointed as a senior research fellow to this project.
Meningoencephalitis (ME) refers to inflammation of the brain and meninges, or membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, and is caused by different species of bacterial, viral, and fungi. In Indian health settings, etiological diagnosis of ME represents formidable problems as the number of pathogens vastly outnumbers the available diagnostic test in the market. As a result, In India, an etiological organism associated with ME infections remains undiagnosed in 65-70% of cases even in best equipped medical facilities.