NEW DELHI, Jan 25, Reuter: An Indian Microbiologist working in the United States said in an interview published on Wednesday that money spent on Aids research in India is wasted and could be better used,

“(The) Aids virus will not kill even 20 people a year (in India) and contrary to the prevailing notion it will be self-controlled in time by natural immunity,” said Ramareddy Guntaka of the University of Missouri.

Teaching the Indian masses about simple hygiene, like using soap and drinking boiled or chlorinated water would save at least half a million lives a year, Guntaka told the Press Trust of India in the interview.

“Even 0.1 percent of the Indian budget on Aids (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a waste,” said Guntaka who has spent 15 years working on viruses.

India is setting up an Aids Research Institute and has a programme for screening foreign immigrants and blood donors.

Guntaka called the institute an economic burden on the Government and the people and said: “The funds must be wisely used on other important and more mundane projects rather than wasted ‘on other important and more mundane projects rather than wasted on a trivial health problem like Aids.”

Guntaka said he believed preventive measures alone would control the spread of the killer disease within five to 10 years.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 3, 1989