Govt sets up more labs to test human samples for bird flu
31 Mar 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Kounteya Sinha, TNN

NEW DELHI: Precariously positioned between countries that have reported H5N1 bird flu virus infection in humans, India is now on a major drive to
step up its diagnostic capabilities for detection of human infection with Avian Influenza.

While India had only one Bio Safety Level-III lab to test human samples for bird flu
in National Institute of Virology (Pune) during the country’s first H5N1 outbreak in February 2006 among poultry, at present it has in place three other BSL-III labs, each of which is capable of testing over 30 human samples a day.

Brought from Hong Kong and each costing over Rs 2 crore, the three new labs are at National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (Kolkata), National Institute of Communicable Diseases (Delhi) and Regional Medical Research Centre (Dibrugarh).

Two more BSL-III labs are also coming up at Central Research Institute (Kasauli) and Haffkine Institute (Mumbai) under the country’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme. They are expected to become fully functional in the next three months.