Quest 2020: A Quest for disruptive innovations on TB and other respiratory infections in India

Can your innovation help fast-track TB and other respiratory infections elimination efforts in India?

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With collective efforts underway worldwide to mitigate the current COVID-19 global health crisis, there is a need to explore innovative ways to fight airborne and respiratory infections.

India Health Fund (IHF) is an organization seeded by Tata Trusts to identify and support breakthrough innovations to accelerate the eradication of infectious diseases in India. IHF has strategic support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and has so far focused on supporting innovations that leverage technology, artificial intelligence, molecular diagnostics and product design to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis and malaria. IHF aims to support and catalyze innovative technologies or approaches by fast-tracking its journey from lab to last mile.  

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious airborne disease and a serious public health challenge worldwide. Despite being preventable and curable, TB claims 1200 lives in India every day. The country also bears the highest drug-resistant TB burden in the world. The ensuing loss of productivity due to TB has an enormous overall economic impact and costs the country US$ 32 billion every year. At present, respiratory infection such as COVID-19 is also having a serious impact across India which could potentially magnify without innovative interventions.

IHF is launching a nationwide search for innovations with the primary aim of supporting the government’s ambitious aim to eliminate TB in India by 2025 and joining the fight against the deadly new coronavirus. The quest for disruptive innovations on TB and other respiratory infections in India is an opportunity for innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs from across sectors to share novel prototypes that could be game changers in our efforts to eliminate these diseases. The quest aims to find new ways of looking at age-old and new challenges which is key to bringing disruptive change to help eradicate these diseases.

India Health Fund is seeking transformative and innovative ideas to support the design and development of products that are effective in responding to the following criteria:

  1. Airborne infection control is vital to preventing the spread of several communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, and COVID-19 amongst others. It becomes especially critical in health care facilities, crowded habitations, congregate settings, including workplaces, where transmission is high, through innovations based on systematic infection control.  
  2. Screening and early diagnosis is the best way to control and ultimately eliminate infectious diseases. It is especially critical to address the gaps and develop tools to address screening and diagnosis of:
    1. Pediatric TB
    2. Pulmonary TB (PTB)
    3. Extra-pulmonary TB (EPTB)
    4. Latent TB Infection (LTBI) among immunosuppressed
  3. Adverse Drug Reaction (ADRs) are one of the main causes of treatment interruption, which leads to drug resistance, avoidable morbidity and even mortality. Developing innovative systems and technologies to address gaps in assessing ADRs prevalence is key to eliminating TB in India.
  1. Innovations that combine affordability with high quality related to the focus areas mentioned above
  2. Innovations should have crossed either of the following stages, whichever applicable:
    1. TRL-6 or beyond (where TRL defines the Technology Readiness Level and TRL-6 describes that the Technology has been put together and can be tested in a simulated environment)
    2. PRL- 4 and beyond (where PRL defined Process Readiness Level and PRL 4 describes that the Process has undergone formative research and has been initiated in experimental setting i.e. in a few project villages or in a healthcare facility setting, but not applied outside the special project setting
  1. Open to evaluate proposed platform-based innovations and developments which are adaptable and applicable to addressing COVID-19 or other such threatening infectious diseases.
  2. Milestone based funding for supporting clinical validation, clinical investigation, Beta Prototyping, Clinical Trials, Feasibility Studies, Confirmatory Testing and Pilot Introduction
  3. Collective engagement with Indian stakeholders and global players in TB and infectious diseases space to gain access to the global ecosystem working towards elimination
  4. Direct program engagement with National TB Elimination Program (NTEP), other national programs addressing airborne infections including public health emergencies  
  5. Hands-on mentoring through a handpicked committee of experts for navigating regulatory landscape and understanding national market dynamics
  6. Opportunity to explore support from India Health Fund’s partners in raising subsequent rounds of funding

IHF Covid-19 Response

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