In order to manage epidemics during natural calamities, the Department of Health Research (DHR), Delhi has launched a network of 30 state-of-the-art laboratories at regional and state levels.
Six state-level labs, 5 regional and 19 in different medical colleges conforming to Biosafety Level (BSL)-3, required for early detection of highly infectious viruses, have been set up.
The diagnostic centers will strengthen the infrastructure and capacity for handling viral diseases in terms of early and timely diagnosis, continuous monitoring and surveillance of existing as well as new viral strains.
Currently national apex institutes like National Center for Disease Control, New Delhi and National Institute of Virology, Pune are mandated to undertake the investigations that result in heavy burden affecting their real referral role.
"As the country continues to have outbreak of epidemics due to various infectious pathogens, the resultant delay in diagnosis and adequate data about these outbreaks significantly impact the response time for intervention," said a senior DHR official.
These labs are equipped to carry out different molecular tests like serology, RT-PCR, isolation, fluorescence microscopy, tissue culture and sequencing for all enlisted viruses apart from being BSL-3.
"It was proposed to create state-of-the-art facilities in regional labs so that these could achieve the objectives in research, continuous monitoring and surveillance of existing as well as new viral and other strains and handling of viruses with a potential of being used as agents of bio terrorism, capacity building, diagnosis, development of diagnostic kits etc," the official said.
Government has also approved funding of another 21 such laboratories to be established under the three-tier system at regional and state levels and in medical colleges.