Taking a step towards introduction of a vaccine for dengue, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is conducting a baseline prevalence study across the country to identify hotspots of the vector-borne disease. The study is being conducted in three phases across 15 states.
“We are conducting serological tests to check dengue to understand the need of the vaccine. In the first phase, we have collected 12,300 samples so far. The study will help us to identify areas most affected by the disease and thereafter we can access the need to introduce the vaccine in those areas,” Dr Balram Bhargava, director general of ICMR, told The Indian Express.
Dr Randeep Guleria, director of AIIMS, said, “In India, the vaccine for dengue is not available yet, but the Centre is working towards it. The vaccine, once developed, will have to cover all four dengue strains. To bring in the vaccine, we need to check the efficacy and safety of the drug. It can create complications if given to a person who has never suffered from dengue.”
Meanwhile, ahead of the monsoon season, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has asked all central government-run hospitals to set up a dengue corner, a facility dedicated to providing assistance to patients diagnosed with the vector-borne disease. A team of special doctors and nursing staff will attend to patients admitted at the dengue ward.“There should be a designated area for such patients so they can walk in easily at the time of emergency,” said Dr Ashutosh Biswas, department of medicine, AIIMS.
But health being a state subject, every state government should also implement it,” said Dr Ashutosh Biswas, department of medicine, AIIMS.
According to the doctors, every year around 20-30 dengue deaths are reported from the medical institute. “The mortality rate in the hospital is higher than the country’s mortality rate,” added Dr Biswas.