India setting up chain of high-tech viral diagnostic labs: Health Ministry official


India is setting up a network of high-tech viral diagnostic laboratories across the country to find out the real burden of dengue and similar viral infections, a Health Ministry official said today.

“The Department of Health Research is setting up a network of Virus Diagnostic Research laboratories and the idea is to have 150 labs spread across the country,” Department of Health Research secretary Soumya Swaminathan said, while addressing the 24th national conference of the Indian Virological Society held at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science (NEIGRIHMS) near here.

Swaminathan, also the director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, said through the network of viral diagnostic labs, a sentinel surveillance would be conducted throughout the country to see the real burden of dengue and similar other viral infections.

About 120 of these labs would be set up in medical colleges, 30 state-level labs and ten regional labs, where facilities would be provided for diagnosis and outbreak investigation, she said.

However, depending on the sophistication of the lab, they would be able to do serology analysis or state level-labs would be equipped to do PCR work and sequencing works, whereas in the regional labs, viral culture would be undertaken, she said.

In the North East region, NEIGRIHMS was already in the process of installing a viral diagnostic state-level lab.

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