State to have 3 virology institutes soon

Existing institute in Alappuzha also getting upgraded

Published - June 07, 2019 12:40 am IST - KOCHI

Doctors attending on patients at Ernakulam Medical College at Kalamassery. PTI

Doctors attending on patients at Ernakulam Medical College at Kalamassery. PTI

In place of an almost non-functional virology institute in Alappuzha, the State will soon have three virology institutes, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja has said.

The State had approached the Union government last year during the Nipah outbreak for assistance to set up a virology institute in Kozhikode.

Administrative sanction for the project was obtained last month.

An amount of ₹3 crore has been sanctioned for the institute to come up under Indian Council of Medical Research, she said.

The Health Minister said that the existing virology institute in Alappuzha was getting upgraded with support from the National Virology Institute.

The State had sought support for this too. The kind of biological safety level required to set up such institutes required support from the Union government. “We cannot have virology institutes in every district,” she added. Besides, the State had also started an advanced virology institute in Thiruvananthapuram under the Science and Technology Department.

The infrastructure of the institute, being built with an advisory panel of scientists, was almost complete.

She said her visit to Delhi on Friday would include talks with the Union Health Minister with regard to more funds for setting up a good virology institute.

Contract tracing

Principal Secretary (Health) Rajan Khobragade said contact tracing done for the Nipah- infected person had resulted in identifying 316 persons who had come in direct or indirect contact with the person.

Of this, data had been collected for 255 and risk analysis had been done on 224. From this, 33 had been identified as high-risk group — those who had come into contact with the person’s body fluids or had been in the same room with the infected person for 12 hours. The rest 191 had been categorised as low-risk. Data on the rest would be completed soon, he said.

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