The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of India, have entered into a bilateral agreement to develop low-cost health-care technologies aimed at the medically underserved. The agreement is based on a shared commitment to improve the health and well-being of the people of both countries by encouraging collaborations and cooperation on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic medical technologies that are inexpensive and operate at the initial point of physician contact, or point of care.
"We are very pleased to officially establish this groundbreaking effort between NIH/NIBIB and the Department of Biotechnology," said NIBIB director Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D. "This agreement will create a working partnership designed to help address global health disparities by encouraging the development of improved methods and technologies to diagnose and treat illness and injury across geographic and economic borders."
Areas of cooperation outlined in the agreement include low-cost innovations in X-ray technology; nanotechnology-based biosensors; point-of-care diagnostic technologies; telehealth and telecommunication technologies; and neonatal health technologies. The disease areas and conditions likely to be affected by the successful development of the technologies are infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, trauma and injury, and conditions associated with infant mortality.
"Developing low-cost health technologies that are unique in design to be affordable and useable in disease prevention and management is a high priority in India," said Maharaj Bhan, M.D., DBT director. "The partnership with NIH, and through them, with U.S. institutions, is critical for us to make progress. We are excited about this agreement with NIH to bring multiple disciplines and teams together to find innovative solutions."
As part of the agreement, NIBIB and the DBT will encourage workshops and meetings to share experiences and scientific information; link appropriate centers of excellence and institutes; engage in bilateral cooperation on the assessment and application of new diagnostic technologies; and generate collaboration among scientists and engineers in the conduct of research, research training, and technology development. The agencies will facilitate and share each other’s efforts in research and development through regular interactions between scientists, and will work towards mutual, annual goals.
The signing of the Agreement on Science and Technology took place during a recent visit to the Ministry of Science and Technology in New Delhi, India.