the auspices of WHO ILAR/APLAR, the maiden COPCORD
(Community Oriented program for control of rheumatic
disease) project in India was launched in
village Bhigwan (Pune District)
in 1996 with
Dr. A Chopra as the principle investigator. After
the population survey, this project, for the first
time in the World, has been continued till date
to fulfill the requirements of COPCORD Stage II
(identifying risk factor and educating community)
and III (preventive strategy). Data on prevalence,
incidence, risk factors, immunogenetics and community
concepts has been published in peer reviewed medical
journals. In fact, the COPCORD Bhigwan model of
epidemiology has acquired a unique distinction
as a socioeconomically appealing, fast track model.
COPCORD Bhigwan data has been used to project
the South East Asia scenario in the WHO-Bone and
Joint Decade (BJD) scientific group report (WHO
TRS, 2005) on ‘The burden of musculoskeletal
conditions at the start of the new millennium’.
The data is also included in the chapter on epidemiology
of rheumatic diseases in the ‘API Textbook
of Medicine, 2004’, which is widely read
by undergraduate and postgraduate medical students
with School of Health Sciences, Pune University,
a modern medicine-Ayurveda interface was set up
in 1989 to explore the Ayurvedic system for better
therapy of ‘difficult to treat diseases’.
Arthritis was accepted as the model for study.
Dr. A Chopra set up protocols to validate anti-arthritic
Ayurvedic medicines as per modern norms. And the
first well designed drug trial for a potential
Ayurvedic medicine in patients with RA was completed
in 1994 under an Indo-US collaborative research
project with co-investigators from Boston. Several
trials have followed. Dr. A Chopra has contributed
on various aspects of Ayurvedic drug development
in treatment of RA and OA. A well recognized and
validated outcome of his clinical research has
been the launch of Artrex, a standardized Ayurvedic
derived anti-arthritic medicine now manufactured
(Dabur, India & Bioved, USA) and marketed
in India, Singapore and USA.
Ministry of Science and Technology, Government
of India, has launched and funded NMITLI (New
Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative)
project 2002-2005 to obtain global leadership
position in certain niche areas. Arthritis has
been selected as a principle NMITLI project with
the aim to validate effective and safe Ayurveda
derived herbal medicines for OA and RA. Dr. A
Chopra is the principal investigator and Clinical
Co-ordinator for several national facilities which
include co-investigators from AIIMS New Delhi,
NIMS Hyderabad, and KEM Hospital & SPARC Mumbai.
The project was begun on 01 April 2002.
and Joint Decade India
being selected by WHO to participate in the world
wide launch of BJD in 2000, Dr. A Chopra has been
working as the national secretary for BJD India.
During the last 5 years he has organized public
education programs and CME/update programs for
the medical faculty in several parts of India.
Dr. A Chopra was also the co-ordinator for the
recently launched and funded BJD epidemiology
program for rheumatic diseases, on the pattern
of Bhigwan COPCORD project, that has been initiated
in Chennai, Jammu and Pune in 2003.
A Chopra has been awarded the BJD International
Award for Partnership 2003, given annually to
one person every year for exceptional achievement
in developing an innovative program or event based
on collaborations through public, private, and/or
government partnerships in support of the Bone
and Joint Decade mission of improving the health-related
quality of life for people with musculoskeletal
of Life Instruments- Functional Disability assessment
1991, Dr. A Chopra has developed well validated
HAQ and WOMAC in several Indian languages for
Indian use. These have been used in several drug
trials (both Ayurvedic and COX 2 Inhibitors),
COPCORD Bhigwan population study and are now being
used in the CSIR, GOI, NMITLI Arthritis project
A Chopra has obtained recognition from University
of Pune to conduct PhD research in Center for
Rheumatic Diseases since 2001, in the subjects
of clinical and epidemiological sciences pertaining
to rheumatology. Dr. A Chopra has 4 PhD students
currently working in osteoporosis, RA Ayurvedic
therapy and immunogenetics.
Pune, is also perhaps the first rheumatology center
to be awarded recognition as ‘Scientific
& Industrial Research Organization’
by DSIR, Ministry of Science & Technology,
Govt. of India.