Indian Council of Medical Research
(ICMR) has signed a MoU with Indian Council of Agricultural Research
(ICAR) for cooperation in the area of zoonoses, anti-microbial resistance, nutrition and pesticide residues. This MoU is expected to strengthen the ties between the two organisations and energise environment of mutual cooperation and collaboration.
“In line with the vision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi (that we should not work in silos), this MoU gives us an opportunity to work beyond the silos we have created. 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,” said J P Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare
have been defined as diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and humans. The effects of zoonoses
are accentuated among marginalised groups since the poor tend to have closer interactions with animals and are further removed from accessible health services. 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.
Co-habitation of farm animals in the same living space increases the opportunities of transmission of diseases in both directions. Some zoonotic diseases have pandemic potential, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, Zika, Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Around 60 percent of all human diseases and around 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic however; these are missed, not recognised or understood in developing countries like India.
Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, added, “There is an urgent need to enhance scientific knowledge that forces economic growth and social development of the country. We are in cognisance of the huge demographic dividend that our country stands to reap, at this point in time and healthcare along with agriculture are one of the most important sectors for us.”
The MoU between ICMR
is an important step and will help to bridge the gap between human health and agriculture/veterinary research and will make India address high priority issues in a coordinated manner.