Staff Reporter

Facility likely to get approval from independent agencies to take up testing

HYDERBAD: 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 the end of this month, the facility is likely to get approval from independent agencies to take up swine flu testing.

A BSL-3 laboratory, in which highly contagious virus like the H1N1 virus can be isolated without letting the virus to spread out in the open, is the basic requirement for conducting swine flu testing. Such a facility already exists at 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,” informed 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 National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi, to set up protocols and guidelines for taking up swine flu tests. Presently, validation BSL-3 has been done by the researchers of CCMB. 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 CCMB. “We are collaborating with Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, in setting up these two laboratories,” Dr. Veena K Parnaik added.

More cases

The health authorities on Thursday confirmed five more cases of swine flu from the twin cities. With this, the total number of swine flu cases in the State has reached 236. All the five confirmed cases were locals with no prior travel history, authorities informed. Out of the five swine flu positive cases, one each have been reported from Nallagutta, Parsiguda, Banjara Hills and Kukatpally. A 50-year-old person from Nizamabad also tested positive.