The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is setting up a swine flu testing facility (Bio-Safety Level 3 laboratory) on its campus at Tarnaka. By this month-end, the facility is likely to get approval from independent agencies to take up swine flu testing.

A BSL-3 laboratory, in which the highly contagious virus like the H1N1 virus can be isolated without letting it to spread out in the open, is the basic requirement for conducting swine flu testing. Such a facility already exists at the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) and another facility is under construction at Nallakunta Fever Hospital.

The research centre, in the coming months, will also have a BSL-4 laboratory, which will allow the researchers to work with more dangerous agents, which cause fatal ailments in humans. Rare virus that cause Argentine and Bolivian hemorrhagic fevers and Ebola virus can be handled in this facility.

"Very soon the BSL-4 facility will be completed. We are hoping that the BSL-3 facility should be validated by this month end," said the acting Director of CCMB, Dr. Veena K. Parnaik. Once the new laboratory is completed, the CCMB would start taking up swine flu testing in addition to the IPM.

The CCMB is also taking help from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, to set up the protocols and guidelines for taking up swine flu tests. At present, validation BSL-3 has been done by the CCMB researchers.

Research related to drug resistant tuberculosis, malaria, swine flu and West Nile virus can be taken up at the upcoming bio-safety level-3 laboratory at the CCMB. "We are collaborating with Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, in setting up these two laboratories," Dr. Veena K Parnaik said.

Keywords: CCMBSwine flu test