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Kerala polls: Expats in UAE campaigning for candidates

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Abu Dhabi: The poll fever in Kerala appears to have gripped the expatriates from the southern Indian state in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as they are campaigning for candidates through social media.

Nearly 1,000 village panchayats, municipalities and corporations in Kerala will be going to polls on November 2 and 5.

Non-Resident Indians in the UAE are using sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as mobile apps like WhatsApp and Instagram to seek votes for their favorite candidates in the fray, Emirates 24|7 News reported on Friday.

Dubai resident Mohammed Ali Firoz is campaigning for his mother who is contesting from Trichur. He is appealing for votes from his friends and well-wishers living in Kerala.

“In the forthcoming polls, my dear mother is contesting and I seek all your support and blessings,” Firoz posted on his Facebook page.

Some expatriates will also be visiting the constituencies to garner votes for their favourite candidates and parties.

Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) in Delhi is making arrangements to bring about 200 expatriates to Kerala’s Malappuram city on October 29.

“This is an important election for expatriates and their families back home. We appeal to expatriates to use their voting rights to preserve secularism and religious harmony back home,” Ibrahim Mulchandi, general secretary of KMCC, said.

On November 2, the polls would be held in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Kasargode while on November 5, the election would be held in Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram districts.

The polls would be for 21,871 seats in 941 village, 152 blocks and 14 district panchayats besides 86 municipalities and six corporations. The last date for nominations’ withdrawal would be October 17.

Over 2.50 crore voters would exercise their franchise at 35,000 polling booths.

(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)