With the rise in zoonotic diseases like avian influenza, zika and ebola, two government research bodies today entered into a pact to enhance cooperation in the field of zoonoses, anti-microbial resistance, nutrition and pesticide residues.
Zoonoses have been defined as diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and humans.
The MoU was signed between Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and aims to bridge the gap between human health and agriculture and veterinary research especially as such diseases are on the rise.
"We have been working very closely with the agriculture sector, however, this MoU will give us a structured set up to carry our work forward. There is paucity of data regarding occurrence of zoonotic diseases, their modes of transmission to humans, sensitive and specific clinical and laboratory diagnostic tools.
"Suitable strategies to prevent them would be of utmost important especially in India. In line with the vision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we shouldn't work in silos and this MoU gives us an opportunity to work beyond the silos we have created," Nadda said.
He said that since the beginning of this year, there has been a rise in various zoonotic diseases like zika, dengue swine flu and others.
He said that there is need for to study the impact of pesticides as there have been examples of places where over use of pesticides have led to increase in cancer cases.
He said that the same is the case for anti microbeal resistance which India has been fighting as self medication is very high in the country.
The MoU was signed by DG ICMR Soumya Swaminathan and DG ICAR Trilochan Mohapatra. It will help strengthen the ties between the two organisations and will energise environment of mutual cooperation and collaboration.
"We are in cognizance of the huge demographic dividend that our country stands to reap, at this point in time and health care along with agriculture are one of the most important sectors for us," said Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
The Health Ministry said that zoonoses have been defined
as diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and humans.
With the second largest human population and one of the world's greatest densities of livestock, coupled with socio-cultural characteristics particular to Indian populace present a challenge in itself.
Some zoonotic diseases have pandemic potential, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, Zika, Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV).
Around 60 per cent of all human diseases and around 75 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic however, these are missed, not recognised or understood in developing countries like India.
The pact will help to bridge the gap between human health and agriculture or veterinary research and will make India address high priority issues in a coordinated manner.
Some of the significant outcomes of the pact include exchange of scientific literature, information and methodology, utilisation of facilities and expertise, exchange of pertinent research material, development and implementation of collaborative research projects in areas of mutual interest like Zoonotic diseases, Anti-Microbial Resistance, Nutrition, Pesticides.