Tata trust signs MOU with Gilead on viral hepatitis in India

To tackle the viral hepatitis prevalence in the country, Tata trusts and Gilead have come together to sign an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) in the presence of Chairman Tata Trusts, Ratan Tata.

Under this MoU, Tata Trusts and Gilead will form a joint program committee to implement activities related to prevention, awareness and education, testing, treatment and health systems strengthening activities in the field of viral hepatitis in India.

Ties with state governments, NGO’s and public health agencies will be established to take forward the programme.

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WHO has been urging the state governments to take action against hepatitis viruses. The most notorious hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) can be a very dangerous threat to the country causing liver cancer and cirrhosis.

Viral hepatitis is called silent epidemic as most of the people do not know that they are carrying the infection. Over decades this will turn into a liver disease leading to death.  It is very important to know that hepatitis c vaccine is not available. The prevalence of HCV in India is about 1%. And it can lead to a life-threatening situation if untreated.

The disease has acute effects on the society like, loss of a productive workforce and damage to the healthcare system.

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“As a part of our overall health strategy aimed at addressing communicable diseases in India, we look forward to partnering with Gilead to create unique models to reduce the prevalence of viral hepatitis in the country,” informed R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee Tata Trusts.

“Viral hepatitis presents a complex public health challenge in India, and by working in partnership and pooling our expertise, we hope to identify sustainable initiatives that can have a lasting impact on the burden of disease,” Gilead Executive Vice President, Commercial and Access Operations in Asia, Latin America and Africa, Corporate and Medical Affairs Gregg Alton said.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is an American research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops therapeutics.