New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) announced the rollout of the National Clinical Registry of Covid-19 (NCRC) on Friday and asked hospitals and institutions treating Covid-19 patients to come forward to participate in the long-awaited initiative. The clinical registry of Covid-19, experts said, will help in studying the long-term implications of the infectious disease that has been in circulation for just over six months now.
Clinical registries are useful to study trends of clinical diagnosis of patients, outcome of treatments and patterns in a disease. India has a National Cancer Registry Programme which had begun in 1981. The objective of maintaining a cancer registry among other things was to “generate reliable data on the magnitude and patterns of cancer”, and to “undertake epidemiological studies based on results of registry data”, the government website on the cancer registry said.
One of the primary objectives of the NCRC is to study the frequency, clinical and laboratory features, treatments, and outcomes of COVID-19 related multisystem inflammatory disorder in children and adolescents by analysing the national registry.
“We need systematic data collection for understanding long-term implications of the disease. This kind of data is coming out of western countries and we also need to maintain such data. We need to know how other diseases such as tuberculosis and conditions like malnutrition are affecting Covid-19 patients,” said a senior scientist from ICMR on the condition of anonymity.
The ICMR aims to collect data from 100 hospitals across the country which will be fed into a software created by National Institute of Medical Statistics, an institute under ICMR. “We have data in bits and pieces at the moment but a registry will allow us to look at the entire range of data of labs, clinical diagnosis, age, gender, prognostic factors and co-morbidities,” the ICMR scientist added.
The ICMR said that after developing the NCRC, it will generate weekly reports – epidemiological and clinical reports. It said that the registry will help in formulating patient management protocols and in understanding predictors of disease severity.
“What is important is that a registry allows you to understand what is happening in the population. It will give you insights into the patterns and incidence of the disease,” said Dr Rajendra Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai.
Dr SP Kalantri, Director, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Studies, said the registry will help in understanding the burden, magnitude and spread of the disease. However, he added a note of skepticism. “Usually, these registries are closely guarded and there is total government control over the data. The registry though will help will providing epidemiological insights,” he said.