Research

The Department of P&SM is actively involved in conducting multi-disciplinary community-based health research through partnership with various national and international agencies. The department has completed several internationally funded research projects on Maternal Health by Ford Foundation and ‘Model Geriatric Care’ by the WHO.

Regional Prospective Observational Research for Tuberculosis (RePORT)

RePORT India is a bilateral, multi-organizational, collaborative research effort established in 2013 under the Indo-US Vaccine Action Program and is funded by Government of India’s, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the US National Institutes of Health’s (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). JIPMER was chosen as one of the partner institutes of the consortium following which a clinical research unit with about 50 interdisciplinary research staff and a “Research Lab for Tuberculosis” was established with bio-safety cabinets, refrigerated centrifuges, -80C deep freezers, ELISA reader and back-up generator facility  I under the leadership of Dr. Gautam Roy & Dr. Sonali Sarkar in the Dept. PSM. 

RePORT India was launched in JIPMER with the site-specific study, “Biomarkers for Risk of Tuberculosis and for Tuberculosis Treatment Failure and Relapse” where prospective cohort of pulmonary TB patients (Cohort A) and their household contacts (Cohort B) were established. Important leads on biomarkers that differentiate active and latent TB in the Indian population and risk factors for TB and adverse treatment outcomes were found from the study. Common Protocol (CP) Phase I (2017) was implemented in six sites across India with the primary objective to collect specimens to aid the Indian biomarker researchers and collaborators to achieve a better understanding of 1) the prognosis of TB disease (Cohort A); and 2) the pathogenesis of progression from TB exposure to disease (Cohort B). The well-characterized and standardized specimens from CP have been archived at the Central Biorepository in NIRT, Chennai. Combining site and common protocol we have successfully established a cohort of 1274 Cohort A and 1715 Cohort B participants. Following CP Phase I, CP Phase II was launched with an additional cohort of presumptive TB patients (Diagnostic cohort) and focuses on different facets of TB such as diagnostics for paucibacillary TB, development of point-of-care diagnostic tests, biomarkers for recent TB infection (TBI) and risk of progression from TBI to disease, biomarkers for treatment monitoring, prediction of treatment failure and recurrence. JIPMER has been designated as the “Coordination Hub” and Dr. Sonali Sarkar, Professor, Department of PSM as the Indian Chair for the RePORT India Consortium. A Data Coordination centre has also been established in JIPMER with a vision of creating a centralized data management centre for all RePORT India studies.

Leveraging the infrastructure developed under RePORT India several supplemental studies are also being conducted on focus areas of TB such as active case finding, stigma, comorbidities, pregnancy, and Multi drug resistance (MDR)-TB. TB-LION and PREEMPT are two such major ongoing studies.

  • Tuberculosis- Learning the Impact of Nutrition (TB-LION)TB-LION is a 5-year project started in the year 2018. It is an interventional study where latent TB positive malnourished participants are given food supplementation. The main objectives of the study is to examine the effect of undernutrition and parasitic infections on innate and adaptive immune responses and analysis Mtb killing and antigen-specific memory T cell responses in adult household contacts of patients with active TB. The study will also examine whole blood transcriptomics to gain insight into mechanisms of how malnutrition and parasitic infections modulate the immune response to Mtb infection and compare TB risk signatures in these groups. 
  • Predictors of Resistance Emergence Evaluation in Multidrug Resistant- Tuberculosis Patients on Treatment (PREEMPT) PREEMPT is a multicentric study which will enroll about 400 patients with MDR_TB in India and Brazil. The study will evaluate the predictors and mechanisms of drug resistance among MDR-TB patients.  Further studies exploring the impact of the current COVID pandemic on TB infection and disease are also being conducted. These findings may provide with critical insights for clinical management and public health control measures for both TB & COVID.

MINErVA: Mortality In India Established Through Verbal Autopsy

JIPMER is among a total of 24 partner institutes in the project MINErVA, (Mortality in India established through Verbal Autopsies), developed by AIIMS, New Delhi as an  online platform for the Registrar General of India Office, Ministry of Home Affairs to provide  data on the causes of deaths in the country, which helps the government in planning and  monitoring the effectiveness of health programmes.

Under this system, caregivers of the deceased identified under the SRS are interviewed and a pre-designed form is filled, which is used by trained personnel to arrive at the probable  cause of death. This system has been necessitated because most deaths in India, especially in  rural areas, are not medically certified.

Health Technology Assessment Project in India (HTAIn)

HTAIn is a multidisciplinary activity that informs resource allocation decisions for healthcare in India through systematic use of evidence on a health technology usually a drug, medical device or clinical/surgical procedure.  Funded by the Department of Health Research (DHR), the HTAIn Resource Centre started to operate in JIPMER since February 2020. It has been set up within the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine with Dr Sitanshu Sekhar Kar (Professor & Head) as the Principal Investigator. The centre has five members comprising of Health Economist, Senior Research Officer, Research Officer, Administrative Assistant and Field Officer. The mandate of the JIPMER HTAIn centre is to assess the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of health care technologies including screening tests, pharmaceuticals and devices, as required by the DHR and the Puducherry government. In addition, the centre engages in faculty capacity building for conducting HTA as well as training of MPH students on health economics modules.

COVID Related Research

Six rounds of sero-prevalence surveys for COVID – 19 in Puducherry were conducted from April 2020 – March 2021.  The reports were submitted to the government for policy decisions. As part of the WHO Unity study, sero-epidemiological surveys were conducted in order to track the infection rates in various age groups including children. Vaccine effectiveness studies were also conducted among Health Care Workers of JIPMER. Modelling exercises were conducted in the department to forecast the number of cases so as to help the State Government in planning appropriate preparedness measures.

Tobacco Control Research - A project on “Advancing tobacco control at National and Sub-National level through capacity building, mPOWER implementation and support to National tobacco control programme (NTCP)” is ongoing with partnering institutes like PGIMER, NEIGRIHMS, AIIMS, Gandhi medical college. The project aims at strengthening administrative and institutional framework for tobacco control and for providing technical support for monitoring, evaluation and policy focused research. Activities carried out include mapping the stakeholders, gap identification in implementation of tobacco control policies, developing state specific IEC materials and capacity building activities.

STI project - JIPMER, Puducherry is collaborating with the National AIDS Control Organisation as the partner institute (southern zone) for the multi-centric cross-sectional survey on STIs/ RTIs among sub-populations at high risk of HIV in India (Female Sex Workers, Men who have Sex with Men, Injectable Drug Users). This is part of the Integrated and Enhanced Surveillance & Epidemiology division of National AIDS Control Programme Phase V.

Extramural projects: The department faculty are also involved as Principal Investigators  in ICMR ad hoc and task force studies on various topics - Situational analysis of health care facilities, geriatric wellness and community health and wellness.

Last Updated: 06-06-2022