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For genome services, India must be put on the map

Prajwal Hulluraiah is engrossed in a game on his mother’s mobile phone and wouldn’t look up to talk to you. But that’s where his similarity with any other 11-year-old ends.

Twice a month, Prajwal checks into the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) in Bangalore for a six-hour procedure to replace the enzymes in his body made deficient by Gaucher disease. The treatment costs Rs 75-80 lakhs every year. The cost increases with age as the amount of enzyme needed for therapy is proportional to a patient’s body weight.

Prajwal is fortunate that his treatment costs are covered by the charitable access programme of the Boston-based pharmaceutical firm Genzyme. Most sufferers of genetic diseases in India aren’t as lucky.

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