Brief outlay of the project
Anthrax is a zoonotic bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis (B.anthracis), a spore forming, Gram-positive bacterium. The pathogen primarily inhabits wild life such as elephants and deer; and domesticated ruminants including cattle, and sheep. Humans are also susceptible to B. anthracis and an infection could result in a high mortalityrate if not properly diagnosed and/or treated promptly. The infection occurs via direct contact with infected animals (cutaneous anthrax), consumption of raw or undercooked meat from infected animals (ingestion anthrax), or inhaling B. anthracis spores aerosolized during contact with contaminated hides, bones, hair, or wool (inhalation anthrax). The cutaneous form is the most common form inhumans, accounting for 95% of all the cases worldwide. Anthrax remains endemic inIndia and presents a threat, not only to human and animal health, but also to India’snational security. Anthrax has a tremendous impact on pastoral communities and is a particularly challenging problem due to the longevity of the organism in the environment and lack of awareness within the communities most at risk. Incomplete surveillance, lack of rapid diagnostics and isolated research are few reasons that this disease has remained an in surmountable problem in India.
The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, always supports a challenging research activity. Anthrax is a major one health pathogen. Addressing key concerns related to anthrax needs an integrated research with multi-institutional approach. This Anthrax-India Network Project (A-INP) entitled “DBT Network Programme on Anthrax Diagnosis and Control in India” is the premier research and development consortium focused on providing knowledge-based real-world solutions for anthrax elimination in India. To this end, A-INP will support and facilitate collaborative, One Health focused research, surveillance, risk assessment, and disease control programs. This will be achieved through the development of capabilities and shared resources to enhance translational research capacity for developing and validating diagnostic tests, vaccines, disease management concepts and design and development of mobile bio-containment facility. The mission of A-INP is to establish a dynamic research and development consortium focused on providing knowledge-based real-world solutionsto accelerating the control of anthrax in India. Using a hub-and-spoke model, A-INP will be a closely interconnected network of research, administrative and supporting facilities with the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary andAnimal Sciences (LUVAS) as Project Monitoring Unit (PMU). The PMU is responsible for coordination and management of the overall programs, integration of supportive facilities and resourcemanagement and optimization. This project will address specific hypothesis in key areas critical to anthrax control in India and will provide a path to thedevelopment of specialized programs in these areas. The A-INP network will serve as a much needed resource for research scientists, regulatory agencies, policy makers,and industry and permit the development of strong extension and outreach programs for anthrax. Bringing together experts and developing critical knowledge and infrastructure will allow readiness to address disease threats at all levels.
Proposed hub-and-spoke organogram for the DBT Network Programme on Anthrax Diagnosis and Control in India