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India, Germany aim to ink a plethora of agreements

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The bilateral meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday aims at cementing the bilateral relation between the two countries. In the second bilateral meeting being held after six months, issues including trade, security and the India-EU trade agreement are expected to be tabled.

Merkel, who arrived here on Sunday night, is on an India visit from October 4-6. She will be accompanied by a large delegation comprising of cabinet ministers and businesspersons and will also be visiting Bengaluru.

The German leader, who met Modi at Hannover Messe in April, is coming here for the 3rd Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) between the two countries.

Earlier, German Ambassador Martin Ney said the IGC were expected to lead to the inking of “substantial agreements”.

Ney said that the German side would seek resolution of certain issues like “questions of corruption, questions of framework for investments, safety of taxation, Intellectual Property Rights” and legal redressal for “ease of doing business”.

“Industries say we need greater progress in order to implement these planned investments. The two leaders will address these issues definitely in a friendly manner,” the German envoy said earlier.

The two leaders are also expected to take up the India-European Union free trade agreement (FTA), which has been under negotiations for years.

The ministers accompanying Merkel are Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Food and Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, Education and Research Minister Johanna Wanka and Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Muller.

The focus of the IGC will be on economy, security, vocational training, science, technology, clean energy, climate and development cooperation. The signing of a plethora of agreements is envisaged. Furthermore, regional and global issues will be discussed, said a German embassy statement.

The IGC is a unique summit-level dialogue with cabinet participation of both governments to help advance the bilateral partnership across priority areas of mutual interest.

The 3rd IGC will seek to build on Modi’s visit to Germany in April 2015 to participate in the Hannover Messe where India was the partner country, said an external affairs ministry statement.

On Monday, Merkel will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan, followed by a visit to Rajghat and official meetings between the two leaders and IGC between the two delegations.

Merkel will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)