Chandigarh, December 2
Prof Kusum Sharma, Department of Medical Microbiology PGIMER, Chandigarh won the prestigious Prof AN Chakrabarty Memorial Prize 2022 for her work in the field of Tuberculous meningitis. Her work was titled Comparative analysis of TrunatTM MTB Plus and XPERT Ultra in diagnosing tuberculous meningitis. This award is given by Indian Society of Medical Microbiology for the best-published research in the field of mycobacteriology (Tuberculosis).This was presented during the recently held National Conference of Microbiology (Microcon 2022) at Bhubaneshwar.
Prof Kusum has been actively working in the field of extrapulmonary tuberculosis since 2007. She played an important role in establishing, and facilitating the molecular diagnosis of tuberculosis at PGI. Her group demonstrated multidrug resistance in ocular tuberculosis for the first time in the world. Then she developed LAMP and Multi-targeted LAMP to facilitate tuberculosis diagnosis in resource-constrained settings. This was a major leap as this is a cheap technique and does not require very sophisticated equipment and can even be carried out in areas without good electrical connection.
She has received a Fogarty fellowship, the USA twice (2010 and then 2015). During one of these fellowships in the USA in 2015, Prof. Kusum Sharma spent three months at John’s Hopkins Baltimore understanding the nuances of genomic work, which she replicated in the field of extrapulmonary tuberculosis and published it. Her work has significantly impacted the diagnostics and outcomes in patients with extra-pulmonary tuberculosis. Large numbers of widely cited publications in high-impact journals are a testimony of a continuous quest to find answers to unanswered questions in this challenging field. Her quest for improving the lives of patients with TB and NTM infections continues with commitment.
She is a part of the International Tuberculosis Research consortium and was invited to present her work during the groups meeting held at University of OXFORD, UK.
Prof Kusum Sharma has been approached by other centers for collaborative molecular diagnostic work like Prof SK Sharma(Ex HOD Medicine, AIIMS , New Delhi), Prof Vikas Aggarwal(SGPGI) and many others. Considering her experience in the field, she was chosen to be the Group lead of the microbiology support group for the INDEX TB guidelines on extrapulmonary tuberculosis for India. These guidelines were published by the central TB division, ministry of Health and family welfare, Government of India, convened by AIIMS, New Delhi and were developed in partnership with Global Health advocates, Cochrane infectious disease group, Cochrane South Asia, WHO office of India.