Monday July 16, 2018

Pakistani author to release book over Skype

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Dhanachuli (Uttarakhand): Pakistani author Kanza Javed, denied a visa to take part in the Kumaon literary festival, will release her book here over a Skype session on Sunday.

The author’s debut book is Ashes, Wine and Dust. Javed was denied an Indian visa she sought to take part in the five-day festival that was inaugurated on Friday.

Talking to IANS, festival director Sumant Batra said the book will be released through Skype.

“It’s not about scoring a point. From the festival point of view, we cannot deprive an author of taking part in the book’s release,” said Batra, adding that he did his best to secure the visa for the author.

“However, it’s the discretion of the government and the Indian high commission to grant the visa,” he said.

However, the author’s father and brother were given visas.

The 24-year-old Javed’s book is already shortlisted for prestigious Tabor Jones South Asian prize.

Aanchal Malhotra of Tara, publisher of the book, said the Kumaon festival would have been the perfect platform to launch the young author’s book which questions the norms of society.

“It’s sad that she couldn’t come for the launch. The book is all about how to grow up as a young woman in Pakistan. The book is dedicated to free thinking women in Pakistan,” said Malhotra.

Meanwhile, other participants from Pakistan — journalist Asif Noorani and Ameena Zaidi, founder of Karachi and Islamabad literary festivals — got visas.

Terming visa denial to Javed unfortunate, Noorani said he had never faced any hurdles in his 24 visits to India.

“I was always welcomed with great warmth in India. It’s the fringe elements who create trouble,” he said.

Noorani said artists in Pakistan were upset over the cancellation of ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts in Mumbai and Pune and the attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni ahead of a book release function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

(Preetha Nair, 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)