As a part of the recent initiative to expand the activities of Department of Science & Technology into the health sector, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh yesterday launched an indigenously developed, cost-effective diagnostic test kit, the first of its kind in India, for the autoimmune “Celiac disease”, which is a lifelong intestinal disorder manifesting as intolerance to certain foods such as wheat, barley, etc. with symptoms like recurring abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss.
This launch comes close on the heels of the Department of Science & Technology launching a cost-effective injectable Polio vaccine and ROTA virus vaccine about two months ago. The diagnostic kit has been developed by Department of Biotechnology in the Union Ministry of Science & Technology through a project sponsored by it with the involvement of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and an industrial partner, M/s. J. Mitra & Co. The diagnostic assay test, through this method, will be affordable, rapid, sensitive and more specific, allowing prompt therapeutic interventions.
While congratulating his department for adding a new milestone within a short period of five months, Dr Jitendra Singh said, at the time of taking over as Minister for Science & Technology, he had professed to make science a medium of social transformation in India through cost-effective means and today’s launch was a step forward in that direction.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Indian profile of most of the diseases is different from the rest of the world and requires exclusively different management, partly because of the different Indian phenotype or genetic makeup and partly because of the tropical dimensions of the disease. This, he said, applies to a variety of diseases including autoimmune disorders like Celiac disease, Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Osteoporosis and host of other associated disorders.
Moreover, in the backdrop of India’s socio-economic conditions, Dr Jitendra Singh said, expensive treatment of longstanding diseases poses a huge financial burden and especially autoimmune disorders occurring at young age also take a toll of the vital productive years, thus depriving the nation of its immense youth power, particularly at a time when more than 65% of India’s population is below the age of 35 years.