- The 2017 Kochon Prize was awarded to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today in New Delhi for building a tradition of excellence in TB research and development. The $65,000 Prize is awarded annually by Stop TB Partnership to individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to combating TB. The ICMR emerged the winner from amongst 18 nominations.
- The 2017 Kochon Prize is specifically about contributions to TB research. Since ICMR and several of its research groups — NIRT, JALMA and India TB Research Consortium — are engaged in TB research, and some of them for a very long time, it made sense to nominate ICMR for this Prize this year.
- Since its inception in 1956, Chennai’s National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) [which was formerly known as the Tuberculosis Chemotherapy Centre and later as Tuberculosis Research Centre (TRC)] has undertaken several trials that had had impact internationally.
- TRC has also conducted more than 50 drug combination and duration trails for both pulmonary and extra-pulmonary TB, and undertaken pharmacokinetic studies for dosing.
- It has developed new diagnostics, and tested and validated diagnostics developed elsewhere.
- The India TB Research Consortium is addressing the need for increased investment byIndia and other TB high-burden countries. In a few months, trails using the two new TB drug (Bedaquiline and delamanid) combinations for MDR-TB and XDR-TB will get under way.
- The trails will be combining two existing drugs and the two new drugs to reduce the duration of treatment from the current 24-30 months to 6-9 months.
- Another trial to be carried out at multiple sites in India will test the effectiveness of adding the already approved diabetes drug metformin to standard anti-TB regimen for drug-sensitive TB.
- With the ethics committee approval already in, the trial is expected to start very soon.