Indigenous thalassemia diagnostic kit launched in India

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

India on Tuesday launched a low-cost, indigenously-manufactured Thalassemia and Sickle Cell diagnostic kit that will simplify the identification of 7 common beta-thalassemia mutations and two common abnormal haemoglobins, common in India. This kit is tailor made for Indian population can also be used for screening.

To be available at approximately Rs. 400 in the public health facilities up to district levels, the kit is expected to bring down the prices of such test in the open market where it costs up to Rs. 15,000. Even government institution like AIIMS provides this test at Rs. 4,000 at a highly subsidised price. As of now, India uses imported products for these tests.

The inherited haemoglobin disorders are the commonest single gene disorders in India, beta-thalassemia, Hb E-beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease pose a huge health burden. The overall prevalence of beta-thalassemia carriers in India is 3-4 per cent, while in certain ethnic groups like Sindhis, Kutchi, Bhanushalis, Punjabis, Jains and Muslims it can vary from 5 to 15 per cent. It has been estimated that there would be 30 to 40 million carriers of beta-thalassemia in the country and 10,000 to 12,000 babies with major thalassemia syndrome along with over 5,000 babies with sickle cell disease are born each year. Close to 40 per cent of the tribal population in India has sickle cell disease.

Source: The Hindu (link opens in a new window)

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