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South Asia must not remain ‘prisoner of past’, says Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq

The two-day conference is aimed at offering young parliamentarians' a narrative in the run-up to the Saarc Summit Pakistan is to host in November, 2016

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SAARC Logo. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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August 16, 2016: In the wake of violence in the Kashmir Valley and amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan; Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker said on Tuesday that South Asia should not remain a “prisoner of the past”.

“South Asia must not remain a ‘prisoner of the past’ but it should radiate fresh ideas and aspirations of our combined future,” Radio Pakistan quoted Sadiq as saying.

He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the First South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Young Parliamentarians’ Conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.

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Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo of Biju Janata Dal of Odisha, Devji Patel of Bharatiya Janata Party and Alok Tiwari of Samajwadi Party are attending the first such meeting.

Deo and Patel are members of the Lok Sabha while Tiwari is from the Rajya Sabha.

The two-day conference is aimed at offering young parliamentarians’ a narrative in the run-up to the Saarc Summit Pakistan is to host in November.

Sadiq’s comments come in the wake of violence in Jammu and Kashmir that has left at least 65 people dead in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.

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In his Independence Day speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi came out openly in support of “freedom” of Balochistan and the Kashmir under Pakistani control.

PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons
PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons

Sadiq said that South Asia must not remain a “prisoner of the past” but it should radiate fresh ideas and aspirations of our combined future.

He said that statesmanship demanded that we confront our issues judiciously and address them honestly with an aim to solve them sincerely.

“He outlined that shared cultures and histories of the region, and developing economies could provide ample opportunities to work together to address common challenges,” Radio Pakistan reported.

He highlighted that the goal of holding this conference was to build bridges between the future leaders of South Asia on a platform that supports continued engagement and cooperation. (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)