||India’s Dr. Maharaj Bhan (l) and NIBIB director Dr. Roderic Pettigrew shake hands following the signing of the bilateral agreement. Witnessing the occasion are (from l) Steven White, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi; NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni; Kapil Sibal, science minister; T.S. Rao, medical biotechnology group leader; and FIC director Dr. Roger Glass.
In a ceremony held Oct. 5 in New Delhi, India, NIBIB and the department of biotechnology (DBT) of the Ministry of Science and Technology,
Republic of India, signed a bilateral agreement to develop low-cost health care technologies aimed at the medically underserved.
Participants in the signing ceremony, held during the Indo-U.S. meeting on translational
health sciences, were NIBIB director Dr. Roderic Pettigrew and DBT secretary Dr. Maharaj Bhan.
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.
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.
“We are very pleased to officially establish this groundbreaking effort between NIBIB and DBT,” Pettigrew said. “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.”
DBT’s Bhan noted, “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. 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 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