Batting for better diagnostic services which are affordable and easily accessible, the Parliamentary standing committee on Health and Family Welfare’s report on Implementation of Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhigyan presented in Rajya Sabha on September 21 noted that the BCG vaccine (bacille Calmette-Guerin, which is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease, does not provide adequate protection to adolescents and adults who are at high risk of developing TB disease.
“In view thereof, the Committee suggests expediting the research program to study the effectiveness of BCG and, based on the result, to consider a booster dose of recombinant BCG vaccine in the universal immunization programme. This could be an effective and cheaper option to control TB,” it said.
The Committee has also recommended expediting the newly developed skin tests extensively for those in close contact with TB patients and risk groups.
“The validation of this test for children less than 18 years old may be expedited so that the TB preventive treatment may be given at the infection level itself,” it noted.
Suggesting that Government procure the indigenously developed Truenat diagnostic machine in bulk and supply the same at block level across the country as quickly as possible, the report said this move would aid in the earliest realization of upfront molecular testing across the country, which curbs missing TB. cases and simplifies the detection of drug-resistant TB cases.
The Committee is also of the view that research and innovation in TB elimination programs are core components that would re-define the diagnostic and treatment measures to transform the TB response efforts and develop novel approaches that not only benefit India in reducing TB burden but can lead the way for other countries to follow.