New Delhi [India], Mar. 24 (ANI): Continuing its efforts to raise awareness on tuberculosis and its diagnosis, Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine Department of Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS, and BD (Becton Dickinson India) for the third consecutive year organized a symposium today on "challenges in diagnosis and eradication of tuberculosis".
Delhi TB Association was also a partner to this awareness campaign. The event was commenced by flagging off a mobile van from AIIMS Delhi campus to raise public awareness around the pressing need to control the alarming levels of tuberculosis and educate people about timely diagnosis to improve treatment outcomes.
The TB Van moved in the bylanes of Khanpur, Sangam Vihar areas where volunteers distributed leaflets to people. Public meeting/ awareness campaign on TB and its associated health problems, with a reach of over 100 people from the areas was also arranged in both the locations in association with BD India with the support of local NGOs.
Dr. VS Chauhan, Chairman NAAC & Former Director, ICGEB was present at the symposium as Guest of Honour along with Dr. I. Ghanashyam, Executive Member of DTBA & Chief Medical Officer (TB & Medical) H.Q, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Shri Dalbir Singh, President, GCTB and Dr. Sarman Singh, Professor & Head, Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS.
The speakers at the symposium dwelled on importance of case detection in reducing late diagnosis multiple drug resistant TB, controlling mortality rates and reducing the risk of inappropriate treatment.
Speaking on the importance of TB diagnosis algorithms in India, Varun Khanna, Managing Director, BD-India said, "To treat and control TB, accurate and complete diagnosis is the key. Unfortunately, inaccurate and incomplete diagnosis and drug susceptibility testing continues to be a challenge in both the public and the private sectors. This often leads to delayed or inappropriate treatment; perpetuating spread of TB infection especially the drug resistant variety of the TB pathogen"
Experts also stressed on application of liquid culture systems to detect the presence of drug resistant TB. In early stages when the drug resistance starts developing, a new crop of MDR bacteria erupts which cannot be detected by molecular methods but only by liquid culture methods and therefore, whenever there is a suspicion of MDR-TB the samples must be subjected to phenotypic second line drug susceptibility testing, using liquid culture systems.
Pressing on the need for innovative treatment technology and diagnostic tools, Dr. Sarman Singh said, "Even though we have made rapid strides in improving diagnostic system and treatment for TB in recent times, the fight against TB is far from over. There is need to improve the sensitivity of existing tools and technology to improve the detection rate, especially in high burden laboratories where more number of TB and multiple drug resistant (MDR) TB can be detected".
He also emphasized on his team's findings published in 2011, in which approximately 4.5% of family members of a TB patient do not seek medical attention despite getting infected and reiterated that active case detection by house-to house surveys, must be rolled out in all families of TB patients before these asymptomatic but infected family members become infectious to others.
BD has been working with Revised National TB Control Program for TB culture and drug susceptibility testing in laboratories across India. Under the initiative, best practices are being taught using BD MGITTM liquid culture systems, quality control and quality assurance of laboratory practices. The BD MGIT system supports rapid culture and ID confirmation of TB organisms to call out critical patient mass.
It is particularly valuable in its ability not only to detect MDR/XDR-TB but also to determine which drugs can be used to treat the patient. It is far more effective than any other approaches and therefore recommended in diagnosing TB in patients co-infected with TB and HIV, pediatric TB, extra pulmonary TB, as well as smear negative TB cases.
"The rampant presence of TB will continue to take away millions of lives unless a cohesive program is devised to control the incidence of TB nationwide. We can't solely rely on WHO or other international bodies initiated schemes but our scientists, programme managers, and all other stake holders should also develop their own strategies and government should provide better financial support to stem the tide of TB in the country," said Dr I Ghanshyam, Delhi TB Association. (ANI)