Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Nurses are dressing а wound on leprosy patient Gopal Bag, following amputation of his leg, at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital, Kolkata, Sept. 20 2016. VOA

October 1, 2016: India’s decision to conduct new trials on the world’s first leprosy vaccine is eliciting hope it will help eliminate the dreaded disease from the country.

Following a declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO), India has been officially counted as a leprosy-free country since 2005, meaning less than one person in 10,000 people is afflicted with the disease. Many experts, however, say the true rate of infection is much higher, accounting for more than 60 percent of the world’s new cases.


Indian authorities recently announced they would soon roll out an advanced field implementation trial of the vaccine Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii, or MIP.


Leprosy patient Gopal Bag, 62, sits with his amputated right leg at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital, Kolkata, Sept. 20 2016. Bag now has claw hands and toes as a result of the infection having gone untreated for years.VOA

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

“In the early field trials of the MIP, the vaccine’s protective efficacy was found to be quite encouraging, with 68.6 percent of people being protected for four years and 59 percent being protected for eight years.

This vaccine also expedites cure rates to people already infected with the disease,” said Dr. Utpal Sengupta, a leading New Delhi-based leprosy researcher, who has worked in the field for more than four decades. “It has the ability to bolster India’s new campaign, which aims to eliminate leprosy as a public health problem by 2020.”

Field trial to start soon-


“There was no awareness about the disease when I got the infection. Now I know, if I took the treatment early I would have not faced this amputation or any disfigurement,” Bag said. VOA

The soon-to-be-launched field trial in five high-endemic districts of Bihar and Gujarat will be administered to people with leprosy and those in close physical contact to them, in combination with the common anti-leprosy drug Rifampicin.

In a statement, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, which is working with the government on the rollout of the MIP trial, said the government has embarked on a “multi-pronged attack” on leprosy.

He added the campaign will increase “active case detection,” saying it could be the key to eliminating the disease, “hopefully in the next five to 10 years.”

India still hotbed
Modern medical advancements have largely diminished the impact of leprosy, mostly eliminating the disease globally but India still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases.

Pointing to the last available data released in 2013, when India had more than 135,000 new cases, experts warn that new infections are rising.
In the 1980s, Indian researcher Gursaran Prasad Talwar developed the MIP vaccine at India’s National Institute of Immunology.

In 2005, the results of a field trial in northern India were found to be extremely promising, but with the WHO declaring India leprosy-free that year, the MIP soon went out of focus.


An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital, Kolkata. VOA

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues

Infections rise after WHO declaration
Some believe the 2005 WHO declaration ended up triggering a rise in the number of new cases.

“Before India was declared leprosy-free, in the country there was a dedicated system to detect the leprosy cases and provide medical care to them. But, after 2005, when the leprosy treatment was integrated into the general health care services, the process of active case search was abandoned,” said Dr. Helen Roberts, superintendent of the Leprosy Mission Trust India Hospital.

“Since the designated system for leprosy virtually became dysfunctional after 2005, the cases of new infections in the country have gone up and cases remaining untreated for years, we have seen a rise in physical disabilities.”


A leprosy patient, who has undergone corrective surgery of his claw toes, is recuperating at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital, Kolkata, Sept. 20 2016. VOA

Need for awareness campaign
Dr. Jerry Joshua, a surgeon at the Leprosy Mission Trust India, said that a strong awareness campaign is needed to help detect the infections early and get them treated.

“Early detection actually hinges upon getting people to know what the disease is all about. It’s about spreading the knowledge about the disease and the knowledge that leprosy should be detected early. People should know what are the signs and symptoms of leprosy, what are dangerous symptoms and what are the disease’s early signs and symptoms,” Joshua told VOA.

Experts agree that many private doctors and clinics do not provide data on leprosy patients to the health authorities, so the true figure on infections does not show up in statistics.


A worker is designing special shoes for leprosy patients at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital, Kolkata, Sept. 20 2016. VOA

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

Stigma suppressing real numbers
“Fearing stigma, which is attached to the disease, many leprosy patients maintain secrecy about their infection in India,” Subhash Chandra Ghosh, who runs a leprosy care NGO in a leprosy-endemic area of West Bengal’s West Midnapur district, told VOA.

“They avoid visiting government-run other special leprosy care hospitals where, they fear, the information of their infection would become public. They choose to go to private clinics and fall off the radar of the health authorities,” Ghosh said.


A worker is designing a prosthetic leg for a leprosy patient at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital, Kolkata, Sept. 20 2016. VOA

“The actual number of leprosy infections in India could be in fact three or four times higher than the figures provided by the authorities. Unless the government take some solid strategic steps to uncover this hidden leprosy population, fight to eliminate leprosy will be an uphill task.” (VOA)


Popular

Photo by Diabetesmagazijn.nl on Unsplash

Eating fruits is one of the most satisfying ways to tackle sweet-tooth cravings while meeting your nutritional needs.

By Monika Manchanda

Eating fruits is one of the most satisfying ways to tackle sweet-tooth cravings while meeting your nutritional needs. Despite many studies and research on fruit consumption in diabetes, there are a lot of speculations on the right kind of fruit consumption and its relation to blood sugar levels.

Eating seasonal and locally available fruit has many health benefits ranging from reducing sugar and inflammation levels to fighting high blood pressure -- thanks to their abundant vitamins and mineral presence! They are a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C, E, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.

The fruits listed below are not just diabetic-friendly but are loaded with fiber and water content which can slow down the sugar spikes and sugar absorption rate. Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. Turns out there is a truth in the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", after all!

red apples Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. | Photo by Pierpaolo Riondato on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Your monthly round up of the latest lifestyle launches, from luxury indulgences to artisanal creations.

By Nimerta C Sharan

Your monthly round up of the latest lifestyle launches, from luxury indulgences to artisanal creations, here's what you can look forward to :

Bag This
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.

white leather shoulder bag on shopping cart Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags. | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
IANS

Actress Kangana Ranaut has talked about how her weight adjustments for her latest 'Thalaivii' that "messed up many things" in her body

Actress Kangana Ranaut has talked about how her weight adjustments for her latest 'Thalaivii' that "messed up many things" in her body and left her with "permanent stretch marks". For her role in the film, based on the life of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former actress J. Jayalalithaa, Kangana had to gain 20kg and undergo major physical transformation several times.

She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.

"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.

She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep reading... Show less