Biotech boost to healthcare
Guwahati, Aug. 28: The department of biotechnology (DBT) under the Union ministry of science and technology is setting up “molecular diagnostic centres” in the Northeast.
It will provide services to patients in a qualitative and cost-effective manner and also work towards developing tools for specialised investigations.
“The proposed centres will aim at providing highly skilled and refined diagnostic services to the healthcare system in the region and increasing diagnostic capabilities in terms of the range and number of tests. The emphasis will be on continuing research and development towards new diagnostic methods,” A.K. Mukherjee, head and co-ordinator, department of molecular biology and biotechnology, Tezpur University, told The Telegraph today.
Mukherjee said techniques in medical biotechnology are at the forefront in diagnosing and treating diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, swine flu (H1N1 virus), HIV/AIDS and cancer.
“These techniques can help play lifesaving roles, thanks to their quick and precise diagnostic ability.
But the infrastructure back-up needed is often far beyond the reach of many healthcare centres,” he added.
A DBT nodal cell for medical colleges and biomedical research institutes of the Northeast has been set up in Tezpur University to co-ordinate, support, and oversee the scientific activities and biomedical research.
“The plan is to set up two or three diagnostics centres in the region that will be professionally run and managed,” Mukherjee said.
He said though these centres would preferably be set up in medical colleges of the region, some collaborative projects are also expected with other biomedical research institutions in association with IITs and universities.
The projects may also be based on public-private partnership models.
“The number of centres will depend on the letters of intent received, competence to handle them and the likelihood of technical and financial viability.
An assessment to this effect would be made by the DBT,” he added.
Though it is planned that such centres would be fully funded by the department, co-operation and partnership with organisations such as medical colleges, universities, other such units who are willing to provide space, trained/untrained manpower will make it run successfully.
The DBT is also working on providing programme support in areas of biotechnology to the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, clinical research and developing drugs from medicinal plants of the region.