The King Institute of Preventive Medicine has been upgraded as Grade 1 laboratory by the Indian Council of Medical Research. This makes the Institute one of the nationally recognised laboratories in the country.

The recognition has come following the Institute's achievements particularly in developing diagnostic criteria for viral infections such as polio myelitis, measles, dengue and chikungunya, said its Director in-charge, P. Gunasekaran.

Following the recognition as a laboratory of national repute the Institute plans to take up research in HIV, rabies, hepatitis and other viruses that result in high mortality and morbidity. “We have tested 30,000 samples for swine flu and the correct diagnosis helped to reduce mortality. We hope the recognition will bring in more awareness among the clinicians so that the correct diagnosis can be made and early and right treatment provided,” Dr. Gunasekaran added.

On Sunday, the Institute held a meeting to discuss the various aspects of influenza, including the avian flu. Preventing an influenza epidemic depends on how quickly a laboratory can help diagnose and provide the right treatment protocol. The Institute devised a strategy called “Stop Influenza” policy and the abstract would be sent to ICMR. Among the preventive steps advocated are isolation of a patient, preventing him/her from entering a crowded place and health education besides administering trivalent vaccine that would protect from seasonal and viral infection. The programme was inaugurated by Director of Medical Education C. Vamsadhara.

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