The Foundation continues to undertake research into its three traditional areas
(c) Modernization of traditional medicine
There has been in the last eight years, a perceptible shift from experimental work to field based studies. These have been directed to estimation of true prevalence of leprosy, post release from treatment events, the status of stigma and approaches towards reduction of nerve damage and deformities.
The focus continues on evolution and transmission of drug resistance tuberculosis using innovative approaches of long term tracking of patients. Modern technology has been used to evaluate bacterial response to drug pressures and preliminary results have been obtained through whole genome sequencing for demonstration of the variation in Indian strains. Ongoing efforts to curb transmission of tuberculosis in mumbai include the study of preparedness of congregate settings to diagnose and treat tuberculosis amongst their inmates. A parallel effort has been made to institutionalize airborne infection control measures in the city and introduce the use of UVGI technology for room sterilization in tuberculosis settings. Pathways to care studies in Mumbai and Patna have yielded important insights into the delays that beset access to care and diagnosis of uncomplicated and drug resistant disease as well as community perspectives in selecting providers for care.
On the basis of earlier studies Psidium guajava (guava) was selected for its anti-diarrhoeal activity for demonstrating a prototype for modernization of traditional medicine. During this period a preliminary study on anti-mycobacterial activity of selected medicinal plants was also undertaken. The work has highlighted the importance of choice of in vitro assays, challenges in crude extract standardization and the need for policies to attract investment by industry.
A recent entrant into the research themes at Foundation has been the investigation of water quality in drought prone areas and its association with climate change. This study based in rural Maharashtra has been extended to understand how multiple forms of drug resistance and propagated through water bodies and how they impact human health.
Overall the research at FMR is evolving to have a multidisciplinary flavour with bridges being formed between laboratory findings and their translation to public health measures.
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