NICED to set up research laboratories in collaboration with HHS, USA

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Kolkata, Jan 18 (UNI) With a view to aiding and encouraging research on enteric diseases and parasites, US General in Kolkata Henry Jardine today handed over a cheque of Rs 14 lakh to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) for establishing reference laboratories on enteric parasites in India.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Jardine said, '' The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), under the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has collaborated with the NICED, under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on studies of enteric parasites over the past several years. This funding is another example of the great level of scientific cooperation between India and the US and how our close relationship is reflected in a broad range of areas, including research and the promotion of public health. '' '' By working together we are developing new scientific knowledge, creating new technology for the development of vaccines, drugs, diagnostic tools and devices and working together to control, prevent and eliminate diseases, '' he informed.

The HHS will also provide funding for a pilot study on opportunistic enteric parasites in HIV/AIDS patients. As part of the collaboration, five scientists from the CDC, Atlanta, and about 20 scientists from various institutions in India will attend a workshop to review technical and logistic issues associated with the operation of the national reference laboratory in February.

The pilot study will assess the prevalence of enteric parasites and risk factors involved in the transmission of these parasites in HIV/AIDS patients.

The basic objective behind the studies is to improve the infrastructure for the surveillance and research of enteric pathogens in India.

'' In other health-related initiatives, the US has committed USD 30 million as part of the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to support the Indian battle against HIV/AIDS. To carry home the message about HIV/AIDS in Eastern India, the American Consulate has been organising several programmes that involve labour leaders, chambers of commerce and legislators, '' Mr Jardine said.

Besides, the US Consulate, in collaboration with the West Bengal State AIDS Control and Prevention Society, organised a programme to sensitise truck drivers against the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Over the past few decades, the HHS office in India had administered over USD 200 million to cooperative health projects in high priority areas, including HIV/AIDS, polio, tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy and childhood and oral cancers.

'' Recently, the US Consulate's Public Affairs Section organised a workshop to educate journalists about Avian Influenza.

International Broadcasting Bureau Training and Development Officer Brian Armstead and CDC lead trainer Dan Rutz were the resource persons for this programme which saw participation from senior journalists of Eastern India and Bangladesh, '' Mr Jardine added.

UNI DPM SJC/src1916

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