India lags behind in hepatitis research, says ISCR

Hyderabad, July 27 (IANS) India is lagging behind in viral hepatitis research despite the high burden of the disease, said the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) on the eve of World Hepatitis Day.

The day is observed every year on July 28 to raise global awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus.

There are five different hepatitis viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.

This year, the theme for World Hepatitis Day is “elimination” with an ambitious target by WHO member states to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

According to ISCR, attainment of this goal requires scaling-up clinical research in hepatitis extensively, particularly in India which carries a high burden of hepatitis B and C.

Of the five different types of hepatitis, there is no cure for three of the types. Hepatitis C alone affects an estimated 12 million people in India, most of whom do not know that they have the disease.

“Despite the alarming statistics, we as a country have not undertaken enough clinical research in this area. We need treatment regimens that are short and therapies that are effective, affordable and well tolerated,” said ISCR President Suneela Thatte.

India has 17 per cent of the global population and 20 per cent of the global disease burden but less than 1.4 per cent of all global clinical trials are done in India.

“India was never a country that had a very high percentage of trials relative to the trials being done in the rest of the world nor is it our objective to be the number one country in the region or globally for doing trials,” Thatte said.

The ISCR is an association of clinical research professionals that aims to build awareness of clinical research as a specialty in India and to facilitate its growth in the country while helping to evolve the highest standards of quality and ethics.

–IANS

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