Dengue is a big threat and by early next year vaccines will be launched in the country to prevent the vector-borne disease that is ravaging Bengal every monsoon. “We are looking at introducing vaccines to prevent dengue by the early next year. The vaccines will be administered among people living in the areas with high prevalence rate of dengue in some states where we have already started serological survey to check the presence of the virus that causes the mosquitoborne fever,” said professor (Dr) Balram Bhargava, secretary to department of health research, ministry of health, and director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today in the city.

When asked about the dengue outbreak in Bengal Dr Bhargava said, “It’s a big problem and we have already formed a research platform in the South East Asia region of WHO to study on the emerging viruses of Nipa, Ebola etc. But the common threat is Dengue to all of us. One Japan-based company has already approached us about their vaccine on dengue and another agency in our country is also working on to manufacture a separate vaccine to prevent the disease,” he added.

“We have to remember that disease outbreak too follows a pattern. For some years, a country or state might have a big outbreak. Other times, it might not be the similar case. This is what is happening in Bengal,” he added. “We are also at the final phase of a collaboration with Sri Lanka for research work on Dengue. Sri Lanka has done an exemplary work in prevention and control of Dengue with zero mortality though the prevalence of the disease is high there,” the ICMR head added. Professor (Dr) Balram Bhargava is in the city to attend the inaugural function of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Hub under ICMR at the complex of the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) at Beliaghata in the city.

The research hub in collaboration with the US will come up at Rajarhat New Town once the ICMR gets land from the state government. “Superbug is an important global health issue owing to irrational and rampant use of antibiotics. India has the highest anti-microbial resistance in the South East Asia region. The hub will explore how to combat the drug resistant bacteria because of the misuse of antibiotics,” Mr Kenneth I Juster, US ambassador to India who inaugurated the project, while addressing in the programme, said. Earlier in the day, Mr Juster met the chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee who also holds health portfolio at the state secretariat Nabanna. Dr Bhargava said that the health ministry would bring legislations with strong guidelines on use of antibiotics. Dr Shanta Dutta, NICD director, also addressed in the programme.