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Made-in-India Leprosy Vaccine to be Out on Pilot Basis

Made-in-India Leprosy Vaccine to be Out on Pilot Basis

The first Leprosy vaccine named “ Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii” (MIP) was made in India and is all set for trials on a pilot basis in Bihar and Gujarat. If the vaccine shows good results, similar vaccine programs will be extended to other parts of the country where the disease is highly prevalent said Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research

“It is the first vaccine for leprosy, and India will be the first to have a large-scale vaccination programme. Trials have shown that if the vaccine is given to people in close contact with the affected, cases can be brought down by 60% in three years. It expedites cure rate if given to people with skin lesions,” she said.

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The pioneering work in the development of the vaccine is done by National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, and has been by approved by Drug Controller General of India and the FDA in the U.S.

Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. Leprosy is spread through contact with fluids from the nose or respiratory tract of infected persons. Though it is not highly contagious, people close to the infected persons need to be vaccinated. The diseases affect more than 1.25 lakhs of people annually across the country.

Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said that “the government has begun screening in 50 most prevalent districts of the country. Among 7.5 Crore people tested for the disease about 5000 people were confirmed to have leprosy. The next phase will cover 163 endemic districts including Erode.”

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“We don’t want to leave any person. Those diagnosed will be given treatment. Those living in close contact will be given a dose of antibiotic Rifampicin,” the minister added.

The statement from the Health Minister and  Soumya Swaminathan came during National Awareness Convention on Leprosy organised here by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai, and Saksham, Nagpur.

Edinburgh University study on Red Squirrel Leprosy

Red Squirrel leprosy

The study on the Red Squirrels is initiated by the researchers recently. This study is to find the cause, those who were affected by the Leprosy. With this, the count of the red squirrels had fallen drastically to 140,000, which is the huge number in the United Kingdom. Most of this problem happened in Scotland. The Key issue for loss in number is, habitat loss and squirrel pox virus. This is more common in grey squirrel and becoming deadly to the red squirrels.

Before try to understand about the Leprosy bacteria. It causes the long term infection resulting in swelling, hair loss problem to the ears, and muzzle and feet and this spread among the species.

The researchers started the investigation from the Brownsea Island. Researchers were trying to identify the cause and how this had spread to the red squirrels and where it has begun.

Initially in the year 2014, the problem was found was noticed in the red squirrels by caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Although the disease was found, they believed this was common in the red squirrel population from centuries. After examining the postmortem reports, they had come to know that the impact of the disease went beyond the results. The reports on the squirrels gathered from the Brownsea in Poole Harbour and the Isle of Wight.

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The research project is undertaken by the researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the association with National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust on the project. The lead researcher Professor Anna Meredith, (School of Veterinary Studies) said “This disease appears to have in the squirrel populations in Scotland and England’s south coast regions for some time. With this research, we are aiming to help conservationists for the better understand and manage the disease in this iconic species.”

Followed by Angela Cott, the National Trust’s General Manager said “ this research project represents the first initial step towards our understanding of the complex disease in British red squirrels. Thousands of people visit Brownsea every year to enjoy the island’s wildlife. Brownsea Island is remains opened for the visit to the people while the research project is taking place.”