Delayed Covid data drive
India’s health research agency has launched a project to create a database of coronavirus disease patients and their clinical records, four months after conceiving the idea and amid concerns in medical circles about a dearth of Covid-19 research in the country.
The Indian Council of Medical Research on Thursday announced the project to establish a National Clinical Registry of Covid-19, containing details of the clinical course of the disease in the patients, their lab investigations and treatment protocols, and the outcomes.
The council has named 15 medical colleges, including AIIMS, New Delhi, and the Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Calcutta, which will “mentor” hospitals across the country that have been invited to contribute to the registry.
Data from the registry are expected to serve as a tool to help improve treatment strategies and predict the disease severity and outcomes, the ICMR said.
The project had first been proposed in early April by the ICMR’s Covid-19 clinical research group. The council has issued a “letter of intent” inviting hospitals from across India to join the registry, which will require them to upload their patients’ clinical records in a standard format onto an electronic platform.
The ICMR said the data would be used to generate weekly epidemiological and clinical reports, formulate treatment protocol, develop policy guidelines for decision-making, understand the predictors of disease severity, and examine India-specific issues such as Covid-19 among tuberculosis patients and malnourished populations.
The data will also be used to probe the variations, if any, in the clinical features of the disease in India compared with other countries.
Hospitals that receive at least 100 Covid-19 patients a month will be eligible, the council said. The data in the registry will be analyzed by the council’s own researchers as well as other health researchers, who would need to send in their proposals.