ICMR invites research proposals on drug-resistant microbes

"On an individual basis, researchers have been reporting the presence of multi-drug resistant organisms and their anti-microbial susceptibility patterns, but there is lack of a consolidated effort to bring about a change. In view of this, the ICMR plans to initiate research on antimicrobial resistance," the health body said.

"It is extremely essential to generate scientific evidence on the prevailing trends of antimicrobial resistance in all parts of the country and at all levels ie primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems," the ICMR said inviting researchers to submit proposals by May 15.

The premier medical research body added that it was also vital to understand the unknown mechanisms of drug resistance in various micro-organisms. The applications were invited for funding research projects in the areas of genetic analysis of microbes to determine sequences of genes and reveal vulnerable areas in a microbe's genome which could be used as potential drug targets or aid in the development of better diagnostic tests.

Other areas include mechanisms of emergence and transfer of resistance genes among pathogens in vivo (in the host), and the distribution and dissemination of specific antimicrobial resistance genes over time.

The investigations should also probe contamination of water and soil by pesticides, heavy metals and antibiotic residues and its relationship to drug resistance as well as role of normal flora and probiotics in the emergence/control of drug resistance.

International health journal the 'Lancet' has recently claimed the presence of antibiotic-resistant superbug NDM-I in the public water supply of the national capital.
The claim has been denied by the Union Health Ministry as well as Delhi Government. The Centre has already announced a national anti-microbial policy to help address the issue.

The Health Ministry is carrying out a study to check the presence of any such bacteria. The study would be jointly conducted by the Ministry and a special task force set up for the purpose. Project coordinator and the surveillance team set up for the purpose in the selected tertiary care hospitals will implement the surveillance of antimicrobials.

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