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ICMR takes ground-breaking efforts in infectious disease surveillance & capacity building

ICMR takes ground-breaking efforts in infectious disease surveillance & capacity building


Posted on March 11, 2024 Updated on March 10, 2024

In a remarkable display of scientific prowess and commitment to public health, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has spearheaded a series of ground-breaking initiatives aimed at tackling infectious diseases and bolstering diagnostic capabilities nationwide, according to its Annual Report 2023.

Under the auspices of ICMR, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has emerged as an apex referral laboratory for dengue, providing crucial diagnostic support to states including Maharashtra, Bihar, and Goa. Recent findings from NIV’s diagnostic efforts reveal the predominant circulation of DENV-2, shedding light on the prevalent strains of the virus in these regions.

Moreover, ICMR-NIV’s extensive surveillance efforts have unearthed significant insights into outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Through meticulous analysis, the institute identified the emergence of Coxsackievirus A6 (CVA6) alongside other related viruses, contributing vital data to the understanding of these outbreaks.

In a bid to inform policy decisions and enhance preventive measures, ICMR-NIV has initiated a country-wide serosurvey for Hepatitis A and E viruses. By collecting 4,500 samples from states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Karnataka, this study promises to guide vaccination strategies and mitigate the burden of these diseases on public health.

Furthermore, ICMR-NIV’s commitment to capacity building is evident in its rigorous training programs. Through workshops on tick surveillance and extensive hands-on training sessions for laboratory personnel, the institute is empowering scientists and technologists to tackle emerging threats with confidence.

Ticks are external parasites, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.

The validation of Mobile BSL-3 laboratories (MBSL3) stands as a testament to ICMR-NIV’s dedication to quality assurance. Field trials conducted in Maharashtra and Kerala demonstrated the seamless functionality of laboratory equipment and diagnostic tests, underscoring the institute’s commitment to accuracy and reliability.

“ICMR’s efforts extend beyond national borders, with the institute playing a pivotal role in regional research platforms and technical support initiatives. Collaborative endeavors with the World Health Organization (WHO) have facilitated capacity building for dengue diagnosis in countries like Timor Leste, showcasing India’s leadership in global health endeavors,” according to an ICMR official.

“Through its relentless pursuit of excellence, ICMR continues to uphold the highest standards of scientific rigor and public health advocacy. From cutting-edge research to hands-on training, the institute’s multifaceted approach promises to usher in a new era of preparedness and resilience in the face of infectious disease threats,” the official added.

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