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India sends aid to cyclone hit Fiji

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New Delhi: India rushed financial and material aid to Fiji that has suffered the biggest cyclone in recorded history last weekend, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Tropical Cyclone Winston, a category 5 cyclone, hit the Pacific Ocean island nation on February 20, claiming 44 lives.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote to her Fijian counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to express her condolences, ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said adding that India had extended 1 million dollars as immediate assistance.

“In addition, today (Thursday) a C-17 Globemaster aircraft has left for Fiji with 45 tonnes of relief material, which includes food products such as noodles, biscuits, milk powder, rice pulses, flour and salt, as well as 5.43 tonnes of medicines and 300 tents and kitchen sets,” Swarup said at a media briefing here.

People of Indian origin account for 44 percent of Fiji’s population. Most are descendants of Indians who went in the 18th and 19th centuries to work as indentured labour in sugar cane plantations in the island nation.

The help is as promised by the Indian government last week. Fiji which has been left devastated because of this cyclone is in the need of help. (IANS)

Read more here: www.newsgram.com/india-pledges-us1million-assistance-to-cyclone-hit-fiji/

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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)

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