Climate change has affected disease outbreak trends. Various germs have mutated and become resistant to drugs. There are newly emerging diseases and re-emerging infectious diseases. There are still no treatments to cure or control many chronic diseases. In Thailand, besides preparing for outbreaks, the country also needs to be prepared for public health services for people with disabilities and the Elderly whose numbers are likely to climb.
NSTDA is aware of these issues; therefore, focuses on using science, technology and innovations to increase medical care efficiency in preventing diseases, treating and rehabilitating patients as well as on preparing for the changes of the health situation in the future. This is achieved through 3 research programs:
The Newly Emerging Disease - Re-emerging Disease Program
The program aims to create knowledge and products that can promptly solve problems related to and address newly emerging and re-emerging diseases as well as increasing research capability so that the country is self reliant and stable. Key operation plans include:
(1) Doing R&D work to create dengue vaccine prototypes to be tested in humans by 2016, focusing on improving research to create dengue serotype 2 vaccines and test tetravalent vaccines in monkeys.
(2) Doing R&D work to create anti-malaria substance prototypes to be tested in small lab animals and focusing on research on key antigens of the P. falciparum and the P. vivax.
(3) Doing R&D work to increase capability of outbreak prediction systems, using mathematical models.
The Genotype Technology Program
The program uses genotype-phenotype associations to develop predictive, preventive and personalized medicinal technologies for chronic diseases and geriatric diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes and kidney disease. In addition, there is also R&D work that leads to pharmacogenetic test kits or testing technologies to be used to test drug allergies in Thais. The focus is on preventing severe drug allergic reactions (SJS/TENS) and allergic reactions to expensive drugs that are used for a prolonged period such as cancer drugs and antipsychotic drugs.
Assistive Devices and Technologies for People with Disabilities and The Elderly Program
The program focuses on R&D work on the designing and engineering of assistive technologies, devices and equipment for protecting, monitoring, rehabilitating and improving the quality of life of people with disabilities and the Elderly. Key operation plans include:
(1) Prevention/screening, which focuses on R&D work to create devices that help solve the problem of falling and prevent falling in the Elderly. This will also help solve the problem of a shortage of geriatric care personnel.
(2) Rehabilitation which focuses on R&D work to create rehabilitation equipment for people with disabilities. The equipment produced is equivalent to exported items in terms of efficiency but is reasonably priced.
(3) Assistive technology which focuses on R&D work to create assistive equipment and technology to help increase the capabilities of people with disabilities and the Elderly so that they can make a living similar to people with no disability.