A consortium of doctors and researchers from India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa has joined hands in conducting a study on the epidemiological impact and intersection of the Covid-19 and Tuberculosis pandemics in their countries.
India’s Science and Technology Ministry said that the teams under this research would explore the negative impact of the pandemic on the epidemiological characteristics of TB infection. The researchers will also search for mechanisms that help these two processes interact.
“They will also search for strategies to mitigate the negative consequences of the pandemic and develop individual recommendations for each participating country, which can help overcome the impact of epidemics of respiratory viral diseases on the epidemic of tuberculosis,” the statement was quoted as saying.
At present, the four countries rank second to fifth in the number of Covid cases. They belong to 24 countries that the WHO has recognised with the highest burden of tuberculosis around the globe. BRICS countries also have the largest number of cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
“Hence the research will be conducted in these 4 BRICS countries where one of the highest-burden rates of both Covid-19 and tuberculosis has been recorded simultaneously,” the statement said.
The Department of Science and Technology supports this research. Prof. Urvashi B. Singh from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, leads the research.
The team will assess the impact of Covid-19 on trends in the structure of the tuberculosis population. The assessment will depend primarily on the interaction between scientists from Russia and India.
The impact of tuberculosis on the clinical course will be evaluated by the teams from Brazil and South Africa, along with treatment outcomes for coronavirus at the individual level.
Mathematical modelling will be used to assess the impact of the pandemic and associated restrictive measures on morbidity and tuberculosis-related mortality.
“The analysis will provide insights into the most important points of application for epidemiological, medico-social, clinical, and socio-economic interventions that are expected to reduce morbidity and mortality from the interaction of Covid-19 and TB in both the short and long term,” the ministry said.
The ministry confirmed that this approach would create a strong foundation for future collaborative modelling research.