Tuesday October 22, 2019

India is Ground Zero for TB: Number of cases much higher than reported

The study published in Lancet found that in 2014, the private sector treated double the cases handled by government-run hospitals depicting the failing battle against TB

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TB Patient. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

INDIA, September 5, 2016: : Ground zero of the global battle against one of humankind’s deadliest diseases, India could have between two and three times more Tuberculosis(TB) cases than currently assumed, said a recent paper released in ‘Lancet’, a medical journal.

The study found that in 2014, the private sector treated between 1.9 million and 5.34 million cases — or about double the cases handled by government-run hospitals.

Before this study, India was believed to have about 2.2 million TB cases, a quarter of the global TB burden, thus far estimated at about 6.3 million.

However, the private sector both helps and hinders TB treatment, the study implies.

Although standardised Tuberculosis treatment in India is delivered by the public sector, early diagnosis and treatment are hampered by the presence of a vast and unregulated private health-care sector, said the study, whose eight authors come from a variety of institutions, including London’s Imperial College, the Indian government, the World Health Organisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded the study.

“Poor diagnostic practices in this sector prolong Tuberculosis transmission by delaying diagnosis, whereas a general lack of counselling and support of treatment adherence hampers successful, relapse-free cure,” said the study. “Moreover, most cases treated in the private sector are never notified to public health authorities.”

Tuberculosis Diagram. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Tuberculosis Diagram.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Analysing sales patterns of 189 drugs containing rifampicin — a key anti-TB formulation — over 2013 and 2014, the researchers estimated how many were sold to the private sector. In 2014, the WHO estimated that 800,000 TB patients escaped public-sector diagnosis, but these statistics were mostly compiled from expert opinion. So, the new study provides an empirical estimate that is independent of such opinion.

“This study illustrates the need to address the burden of Tuberculosis treated by the private sector and improve surveillance,” the researchers wrote, acknowledging the paper’s limitations, including the failure to capture TB patients who do not approach a doctor, use the informal sector or are being treated for multiple-drug resistance.

“This study also raises an urgent need to revise current estimates of Tuberculosis burden, informed by more systematic evidence relating to Tuberculosis management in the private sector,” the researchers wrote.

Although the incidence of TB in India has been declining, drug resistance and its interaction with other diseases, such as HIV, have slowed progress.

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Throughout history, TB has killed more humans than any conflict, disaster or disease known to mankind. In the 5th century, Greek philosopher Hippocrates advised doctors to stay away from TB patients, since there was no cure. In the 17th, it was called the great white plague of Europe, as it swept the continent, killing thousands over 200 years. In the 21st Century, it infects 10 million people every year, killing a fifth of those.

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TB bacteria have in-built armour, acids that protect them against the body’s cellular defenders. Most people infected with it have latent tuberculosis, where the bacteria are walled off in clumps by the cells of the immune system. Sometimes, the containment fails, particularly in people with weakened immune systems. If a drug doesn’t kill the bacteria completely, it becomes immune to that drug and can eventually overwhelm the immune system. (IANS)

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Apple Begins Production of its Highly Successful iPhone XR in India

The iPhone XR demand further saw an uplift after the price drop and aided by heavy promotional activities in the ongoing festive season

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Apple, iPhone XR, India
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), in the premium ($500 or Rs 35,000 and above) segment, Apple bettered Samsung for the leadership position with an overall share of 41.2 per cent in 2Q19. Pixabay

In a big impetus for its India manufacturing dream, Apple has started production of its highly successful iPhone XR in the country.

Multiple sources confirmed to IANS on Monday that the production of iPhone XR, that was launched last year but is still flying off the shelves, is up and running at Apple supplier Foxconn’s facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai.

Riding on heavy promotional offers on iPhone XR, Apple regained top position in the premium smartphone segment in India in the second quarter (Q2) this year.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), in the premium ($500 or Rs 35,000 and above) segment, Apple bettered Samsung for the leadership position with an overall share of 41.2 per cent in 2Q19.

Apple, iPhone XR, India
Multiple sources confirmed to IANS on Monday that the production of iPhone XR, that was launched last year but is still flying off the shelves, is up and running at Apple supplier Foxconn’s facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai. Pixabay

The iPhone XR demand further saw an uplift after the price drop and aided by heavy promotional activities in the ongoing festive season.

In a clear signal that India is Apple’s next growth market, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer Foxconn’s Chairman Terry Gou recently said the company would begin mass production of iPhones in India this year.

Gou said the move “will get Foxconn more deeply involved in the development of the country’s smartphone industry” which currently has over 450 million smartphone users.

Foxconn is already expanding its manufacturing operations in India.

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“To start with, it makes sense for Apple to localise assembling of models that have the potential to scale up and then slowly expand it to entire portfolio,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, told IANS recently.

The iPhone XR is available for Rs 44,900 online, with some great buy back and cash back offers.

Apple iPhone shipments grew 19 percent (YoY) in India in its last reported quarter.

Apple, iPhone XR, India
Riding on heavy promotional offers on iPhone XR, Apple regained top position in the premium smartphone segment in India in the second quarter (Q2) this year. Pixabay

Apple in August said it looks forward to welcoming customers at its first branded retail store in India soon.

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“We love our customers in India and we’re eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy,” Apple said. (IANS)