Reserach capability of India to develop new drugs to treat allergy

By Avishek Majumder on January 26, 2019

Research capability in drug development comprises of R&D expenditure, human capital, and an ecosystem of innovations (Daniel et al., 2015). The increase in the research capability remains motivated by the availability of proper resource availability. Availability of resources remains impacted by financial investments and technological knowledge. Therefore, research capability is directly related to the resource availability and impacts the drug market.

The scope of industrial research in India

In India, research in the area of allergy is comparatively less as compared to other chronic diseases. However, a lot of scope remains with respect to the capability of research in the field of allergy. The scope of industrial research in the Indian drug industry includes;

  • Mechanisms: The mechanism behind the allergic reactions need research to understand their pathophysiology to develop diagnostics and treatment methods (Aulton & Taylor, 2017). Therefore, this acts as a motivator to develop new drugs to treat allergy.
  • Epidemiological surveillance: Lack of data availability for allergy incidence and its burden raise the need for the epidemiological surveillance to improve research capability and improve drugs to treat allergy market with the availability of personalised drugs (Papadopoulos et al., 2012).
  • Biomarkers: Scope for a biomarker, however, related to searches for prediction, diagnosis, classification and treatment response of the various allergic reactions.
  • Phenotyping: It seems to be widely required in order to arrange or re-arrange clinical syndromes in more coherent and treatment-responsive groups (Aulton & Taylor, 2017). Therefore, using different types of omic approaches in combination with systems biology and systems medicine appear promising in this direction. This allows the government and the industries to improve their research capability with respect to technological adoptions and human capital.
  • Novel treatments: The focus is particularly given to the novel medicines and treatment in the field of allergy especially immunotherapy and biologics for targeted and causal management of allergic diseases (Papadopoulos et al., 2012). Therefore, the scope of research on novel treatment motivates the drug companies in the development of allergy-specific treatment methods.
The major research areas for the allergy drug development that motivate research capabilities (Papadopoulos et al., 2012)
The major research areas for the drug development to treat allergy that motivate research capability (Papadopoulos et al., 2012)

Research capability on the basis of papers published

In India, there is very less attention provided towards the research and development in the field of allergy as compared to the other cutting edge immunological research (Shah et al., 2015). This is the reason why there is very less knowledge available on the biology of the allergens. Number of papers per year on the topic “Allergens from India” published and indexed in the PubMed database (2001–2017) with respect to research capabilities (Bhattacharya et al., 2018)

Number of papers per year on the topic “Allergens from India” published and indexed in the PubMed database (2001–2017) with respect to research capability (Bhattacharya et al., 2018)

The clinical data from the hospitals have revealed that asthma in India is primarily caused by the dust mites but there are no reports of the molecular nature of these dust mites till now. Therefore, it is clear that there is a lot of research gap in the study of the pathophysiology of the allergy diseases in India. The molecular research of the allergens must intensify in India so that new diagnostic measures and treatment options can be developed. Therefore, the funding agencies of India should focus on sponsoring such research to control the pandemic spread of this disease in this developing nation (Bhattacharya et al., 2018).

Total number of researches published from India (2001–2017) on 4 different types of allergen sources (Bhattacharya et al., 2018)
Total number of researches published in India (2001–2017) on 4 different types of allergen sources (Bhattacharya et al., 2018)

These indicate the low level of research publications conducted by the government and the pharmaceutical industries indicate lack of research capabilities. However, the scope of research availability and the need for new and innovative drugs to the public indicates the importance of improvement of research capabilities. Therefore, it motivates the drug industries in better research and development and improves the allergy drug market in India.

Research capability on the basis of human capital

Researchers in R&D (per million people) in India
Researchers in R&D (per million people) in India

According to the World Bank, the number of researchers in India shows a steady rise from 2005 to 2017. In this respect, the pharmaceutical industry indicates improving research capabilities. Human capital is an important component of research capability and hence will improve the allergy drug market of India.

Research capability on the basis of education

Higher education is an important motivator of research capability. Research capabilities from higher education are represented by highly cited researchers, number of articles, per capita performance, and patents published. In this regard, The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) helps in identifying the research capabilities of a nation. USA and UK top the list and indicates high researchable capability. On the other hand, India remains way below in the list with only 16 research institutes and universities ranked in 1000 best research institutions. Only one institute, Indian Institute of Science, ranked under 500 best while remaining 15 between 501-1000 as in 2018. In 2017, 7 research institutions were listed and in 2016 only 2 institutions were listed. Thus, higher education is important for improving research capability.

Research capability drives the development of drugs to treat allergy

The research capability and resource availability in the field of allergy eventually hike the need and demand for the development of drugs to treat allergy. Furthermore, it will improve the drug allergy market with respect to the availability of proper diagnostic methods and treatment plans for the various allergies.

The research capability and resources available in the field of allergy drug market is, however, a challenge in India. Moreover, lack of research capabilities in India includes expertise in epidemiological studies, and molecular research, lack of inventors, lack of technological capabilities, and lack of researchable knowledge. In addition, there is a huge gap in the diagnosis, management, and mechanism identification of the various types of allergy disease. Extensive research needs improvement to counteract the consequences for both individual patients and public health thereby motivate and drive for drug development.


  • Aulton, M. E., & Taylor, K. M. (Eds.). (2017). Aulton’s Pharmaceutics E-Book: The Design and Manufacture of Medicines. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  • Bhattacharya, K. et al. (2018) ‘Spectrum of Allergens and Allergen Biology in India.’, International archives of allergy and immunology, 700009, pp. 1–19. doi: 10.1159/000490805.
  • Daniel, G. W., Cazé, A., Romine, M. H., Audibert, C., Leff, J. S., & McClellan, M. B. (2015). Improving pharmaceutical innovation by building a more comprehensive database on drug development and use. Health Affairs34(2), 319-327.
  • Papadopoulos, N. G. et al. (2012) ‘Research needs in allergy: an EAACI position paper, in collaboration with EFA.’, Clinical and translational allergy. BioMed Central, 2(1), p. 21. doi: 10.1186/2045-7022-2-21.
  • Shah, N. J., Vinod Kumar, S., Gurusamy, U., Annan Sudarsan, A. K., & Shewade, D. G. (2015). Effect of ADRB2 (adrenergic receptor β 2) gene polymorphisms on the occurrence of asthma and on the response to nebulized salbutamol in South Indian patients with bronchial asthma. Journal of Asthma52(8), 755-762.