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India developing world’s most advanced affordable Artificial Heart

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN    Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, October 30:India is developing the world’s most advanced and affordable Artificial Heart, or a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). And it is being greeted as the next big thing in world healthcare because an Artificial Heart is rated as one of the most complex machines to build.

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) or Artificial Heart is a pump used in patients with end-stage heart failure as a bridge while awaiting a heart transplant or as a destination therapy for those unable to go in for a transplant. It is an implantable battery-operated, mechanical pump, which helps the left ventricle (main pumping chamber of the heart) pump blood to the rest of the body.

The School of Medical Research and Technology (SMRT) at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur ((IIT-K) in Uttar Pradesh has announced the launch of Hridyantra, a grand challenge-based programme to develop the world’s most advanced Artificial Heart or a Left Ventricular Assist device (LVAD). The SMRT is a platform of interdisciplinary teaching and research in diverse areas of medical science and technology.

The programme is in collaboration with India’s leading hospitals, and will promote the vision of made in India for the world. A team of innovators with relevant experience has been selected under the mentorship of a task force composed of industry experts.  As many as 32% of global deaths are due to cardiovascular disease, making it the commonest cause of death. Replacing the diseased heart with an artificial one (Left Ventricular Assist Device, LVAD) is the logical solution. “But when a solution is not affordable it’s not really a solution. When an artificial heart costs nearly INR 10 million in India and over a million dollars in America, it’s not a solution,” says Dr Devi Shetty, a cardiac surgeon and Chairman and Founder of Narayana Health, a chain of 24 hospitals and seven heart centres.

Only 29,000 rich patients have had an artificial heart implanted globally.The challenge to develop India’s first LVAD system is open to basic sciences, medical and engineering graduates or graduates of any stream with relevant experience. Some of the IIT Kanpur alumni based abroad with a vast knowledge of building machines to support failing hearts have become part of the mentor group.

 The SMRT chose eight out of over 200 candidates for the team. This team will build the artificial heart on the IIT Kanpur campus, and own the Intellectual Property (IP) rights to eventually commercialise it and pay reasonable royalty to IIT K. The selected candidates will receive a fellowship and a milestone-based ownership in the commercial entity once the LVAD is successfully commercialized and launched.

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur said: “IIT Kanpur is known for its pioneering role in launching high-impact projects in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation. With Hridyantra, we are moving another step forward in realizing our vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) by supporting indigenous talent with critical R&D support.”

He added: “The programme, providing an innovation platform for enterprising problem solvers, will not only enrich the health ecosystem of the country, but will also lead the way in interdisciplinary biomedical research and innovation. This is our moonshot project, the success of which will determine the journey ahead and will boost the morale of everyone involved.”

The SMRT has created a power packed task force that includes engineering faculty members from IIT Kanpur, industry experts from the USA, and clinical experts from Narayana Health, All India Institute of Medical Sciences-Delhi (AIIMS Delhi), Apollo, Fortis Healthcare, Medanta, KIMS, and UN Mehta Heart Institute to handhold the selected fellows on developing the Artificial Heart. Hridyantra aims to be India’s most prestigious and impactful medical device innovation programme.

The initial capital for the project is paid by IIT-K alumni, and future capital will come as grants and donations from government and private funding agencies.The IIT-K is not planning to build the “world’s cheapest artificial heart” but the “world’s most advanced artificial heart.” It will be affordable since the entire development cost is paid through grants and donations.

Dr Devi Shetty says: “The model developed by IIT-K is a game-changer. It provides a magical platform for young entrepreneurs. If all the IITs and government-funded research institutes embrace a similar strategy to develop moonshot projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of Self-Reliant India will come true in less than a decade.”



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Pakistan’s ex-president, Pervez Musharraf dies aged 79

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(picture BBC)

BBC reported that Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has died aged 79.

The former leader – who was president between 2001 and 2008 – died after a long illness, a statement from the country’s army said.

He had survived numerous assassination attempts, and found himself on the front line of the struggle between militant Islamists and the West.

He supported the US “war on terror” after 9/11 despite domestic opposition.

In 2008 he suffered defeat in the polls and left the country six months later.

When he returned in 2013 to try to contest the election, he was arrested and barred from standing. He was charged with high treason and was sentenced to death in absentia only for the decision to be overturned less than a month later.

He left Pakistan for Dubai in 2016 to seek medical treatment and had been living in exile in the country ever since.

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The 75th Anniversary of National Independence celebrated under the patronage of President, PM

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(picture Presidents Media)

The 75th National Independence Day celebration was held under the theme “Namo Namo Mata – A Step towards the Century”, under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Saturday morning (04) at Galle Face Green.

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Lanka sovereign bond holders write to the IMF

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ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s bondholders have written to the International Monetary Fund expressing their willingness to engage in debt re-structuring talks but also raising matters related to the domestic debt re-structuring and economic assumptions and forecasts.

The group, styling itself as the “Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the Bondholder Group) has written last week to the IMF Managing Director from New York said inter alia that the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

The letter concluded with the paragraph: Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

Following is the text of the letter:

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2023

Dear Managing Director Georgieva,The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the “Bondholder Group”) acknowledges the Sri Lankan authorities’ engagement with their official creditors towards a resolution of the current crisis and restoration of debt sustainability.

The Bondholder Group further acknowledges that such engagement has recently resulted in the Government of India (in its letter to the IMF, dated January 16, 2023 (the “India Letter”)) delivering letters of financing assurances, committing to support Sri Lanka and contribute to its efforts to restore debt sustainability by providing debt relief and financing consistent with the IMF Extended Fund Facility Arrangement (the “IMF Programme”) and the IMF Programme targets indicated in the India Letter.

Similarly, the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

Based on the limited information available to us at this time, including information contained in the India Letter, we understand that the IMF Programme’s debt sustainability targets are identified as

(i) reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to 95% by 2032,

(ii) limiting the central government’s annual gross financing needs to GDP ratio to 13% in the period between 2027 and 2032, and central government annual foreign currency debt service at 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032 and

(iii) closing of the external financing gap.

The Bondholder Group hereby confirms it is prepared to engage, through its Steering Committee, with the Sri Lankan authorities in restructuring negotiations consistent with the parameters of an IMF Programme and the targets specified therein (the “IMF Programme Targets”), which the Bondholder Group understands to be the targets identified in the India Letter; it being recognized that these negotiations will necessarily be further informed by the receipt of the forthcoming DSA.

We would note that the finalization of an agreement will also be subject to the satisfaction of the following conditions:

The central government’s domestic debt – defined as debt governed by local law – is reorganized in a manner that both ensures debt sustainability and safeguards financial stability.

Assuming that annual gross financing needs should not exceed 13% of GDP in the period between 2027 and 2032, whilst allowing for central government annual foreign currency debt service to reach 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032, domestic gross financing should therefore be limited at 8.5% of GDP for the period 2027-2032.

While we recognize that the determination of the economic assumptions underpinning the IMF Programme Targets is ultimately the responsibility of the IMF and that the overall design of the IMF Programme is one that is negotiated between the IMF and Sri Lanka, it is nevertheless important that the Bondholder Group has the opportunity to express its views on both the economic assumptions underpinning these IMF Programme Targets and the adequacy and feasibility of the adjustment efforts contemplated under the IMF Programme.

When considering any restructuring proposal that is made to the Bondholder Group, it is the Bondholder Group’s intention to take into consideration the extent to which the economic assumptions and the adjustment efforts are consistent with these views.

Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

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