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Leading Dengue and TB scientists from the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) are meeting today at a symposium at NEHCRI (Novartis – Eijkman Institute – Hasanuddin University Clinical Research Initiative) in Makassar, Indonesia, to discuss the initiative’s clinical research updates.
NEHCRI is a unique collaboration comprised of a specialised network of institutes that are focused on drug discovery, capacity building and training local Indonesian scientists.
By building capacity within an endemic region, NEHCRI is becoming a model of excellence for clinical research, says Paul Herrling, Head of Corporate Research at Novartis and Chairman of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases.
This initiative also helps establish a health infrastructure through knowledge-sharing between Novartis scientists and local Indonesian scientists. Ultimately we hope to contribute to Indonesia’s network of experienced clinicians through this integrated model.
Positive effects of NEHCRI
TB Diagnostics Scientists at NEHCRI are already seeing positive results of the model’s effects, including the development of two epidemiology manuscripts on tuberculosis, and implementation of translational and operational studies. The manuscripts on TB, which are currently being prepared for publication, will be essential when choosing suitable management programs for TB in Makassar.
Endemic regions – areas where patients need treatment most – are currently lacking in clinical trial capacity, says Prof Sangkot Marzuki, Director Eijkman Institute.
However, it is of critical importance to conduct clinical trials in endemic areas, so as to ensure that the treatments being tested will actually meet the real-life needs of the patients. The NEHCRI TB laboratory has the capacity to process 2,000 sputum samples per year, providing a direct impact on TB treatment. The availability of proper TB diagnostic tools provides local patients and doctors access to important resources. Indonesia currently ranks third on the list of the 22 countries with the highest-burden of TB cases across the globe, with 244 cases per 100,000 people.