To Fight Bio-Terrorism, India Needs Central Epidemiological Database: Experts

Top Quote Bio defence is a proactive action that uses medical measures to protect people against bioterrorism. This includes medicines and vaccinations. It also includes medical research and preparations to defend against bioterrorist attacks. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) June 29, 2016 - New Delhi, India : Experts on Friday emphasised on a strong and well integrated programme in sync with the different governmental arms to deal with bio-terrorism, as diseases like Small pox and Ebola in Africa & Zika in Brazil are threats present.

    Lt Gen (retd) JR Bharadwaj, former Director General Armed Forces Medical Service and also a former member of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said although different arms of the government are working to deal with the threat, a lot more needs to be done.
    Lt Gen Bharadwaj said guidelines to deal with the problem were issued by NDMA in 2007 and these were even appreciated by other nations, he said.

    "There has been progress on the recommendations, but only in piecemeal," he said.

    Tracing the history of bio-medical warfare, Lt Gen Bharadwaj said Germans had used anthrax in the First World War while the Japanese had a battery of agents like cholera, plague, small pox.

    "There has to be a better coordination between the different arms of the government. The agents that can be used for bio-terrorism need to be defined to ensure preparedness. Of over 600 districts in India only 100 districts have Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) laboratories," he said.

    Lt Gen Bharadwaj, however, added that the Ministry of Health has been taking steps to deal with the issue.

    With newer threats like Ebola, Zika, W Selvamurthy, a former Distinguished Scientist at the DRDO, emphasised on setting up a central epidemiological database.

    He said the database, which would include surveys done on epidemics, can help identify if there is something amiss in case of an outbreak.

    Mr Selvamuthry also emphasised on making the best use of the bio-diversity, especially in the Western ghats while coming up with medicines to deal with the issue.

    Talking about the economic implications of bio-terrorism, Jesper Elsgaard, Vice-President of Bavarian Nordic, a Denmark based company said post 9/11 government officials were sent envelopes containing spores of anthrax.

    Mr Elsgaard also noted that over two-third of the population has still not been immunised by diseases like Small pox.

    For more details, please contact
    Simran Kumar, India News Communications Ltd.: +91-9810591323, Email: simran ( @ ) inclgroup dot com
    Manoj Kumar, India News Communication Ltd.:+91- 8447324124, Email: manoj ( @ ) inclgroup dot com

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