The UK-India Workshop on Tuberculosis Diagnostics
Two members of the ARREST-TB consortium, the University of Edinburgh, School of Chemistry and the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT), India, along with other leading Indian and UK institutes held a workshop titled “Multi-disciplinary workshop – Achieving rapid, accurate and affordable diagnosis of tuberculosis and drug-resistant tuberculosis in minimally resourced settings” in Chennai, India between June 3rd to 6th. The workshop was supported by a Researcher Links grant under the Newton Bhabha Fund. The grant is funded by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry and delivered by the British Council.
The workshop was attended by 40 delegates from the UK and India, including experts and young researchers from varied disciplines, such as Chemistry, Microbiology, Clinical TB, Mycobacterial Chemistry, Optical Physics, Immunology and Engineering engaged in collaborative thinking to develop practical solutions for TB diagnosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is a global health threat and India is one of the most affected countries with close to 3 million cases and 500,000 deaths per year (Source: WHO TB burden estimates and country-reported TB data). However, the lack of affordable and rapid diagnostics is a huge barrier in ensuring accurate diagnosis and limiting TB propagation.
The workshop brought together day-to-day practitioners, users of TB/drug-resistant TB diagnostics, alongside those with the skill sets to develop, design and build new tools and technologies. The key needs of patients, clinicians and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) stated deliverables of affordable, reliable and primary care TB diagnostics with an impact on large numbers of TB patients in India were the primary topic of discussion.
The workshop also provided an invaluable opportunity for the UK and Indian scientists, technologists and engineers to develop an understanding of the unmet and clinically challenging problems that exist in the field of TB diagnosis within India through visits to health care centres around Chennai