Three of the 19 viral research and diagnostic labs that have been allotted to Maharashtra by the Centre, are going to be set up in Nagpur.
Out of these 19 labs, 2 are categorized ‘state level’, one of which is coming to Nagpur and the other in Mumbai.
The other labs would be set up in government medical college and hospitals (GMCH). Since Maharashtra has 13 GMCHs, the remaining 4 of the 17 would mostly go to the deemed universities in the state. As Nagpur has 2 GMCHs, both would be getting the laboratories.
These laboratories will enable continuous monitoring of existing as well as new viral strains. These labs will facilitate surveillance of commonly occurring viral disease which will help the government in planning strategies to prevent and control viral outbreaks.
The government had launched the 'Establishment of Network of Laboratories for Managing Epidemics and Natural Calamities' scheme in 2013-14. The project was supposed to be completed by March 17. However, the project has not taken off till date.
In February this year, Union Minister and city MP Nitin Gadkari was approached by the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Institute of Medical Science, Research, and Human Resources, with a proposal to start VRDLs in Maharashtra under the scheme. They said while there are 103 VRDLs in the country, there were none in the state.
According to the director of the NGO, Dr. Viral Kamdar, there is urgent necessity to set up VRDLs in Maharashtra to do research on many viruses on which even doctors are not aware of.
Citing examples of diseases like swine flu, Kamdar said, "The H1N1 virus which causes it has undergone changes. The disease which was restricted to winter months now occurs throughout the year. At the VRDL, doctors can research on new developments."
The project finally gained momentum when Gadkari started pursuing it at the center with Union minister for health JP Nadda. On March 10, Nadda replied to Gadkari saying that the matter will be looked into.
Later, in a meeting organised by the center’s department of health research (DHR) and directorate of medical education and research (DMER), the state was asked to submit a proposal to set up 2 state-level and 17 GMC-level VRDLs.
On September 8, state medical education minister Girish Mahajan asked DMER to make the final proposal which he was to hand over to Nadda on September 23. The meeting got postponed and is likely to take place soon.
Information source: timesofindia