LG inaugurates Bio-Safety Level-3 Labs at RMRC
The Lt Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, today inaugurated the Bio-Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories established by the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Port Blair at a function held at its premises here this morning. With the setting up of these bio-safety level-3 and 2 laboratories, RMRC (ICMR) is fully equipped to handle most of the infectious agents that are likely to be encountered in the Islands as well as those that are potential risk to the Islands.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor stated the Bio-Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories set-up by the RMRC (ICMR) would provide the much needed medical backup as regards to diagnosis of the various emerging and re-emerging infections. He further stated that since the Islands did not have the necessary medical diagnostic infrastructure to diagnose various acute diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), bird flu (Avian Influenza), swine flu (novel influenza H1N1) and many more such infectious diseases, their samples used to be sent to mainland for obtaining reports. Now with the availability of bio-safety laboratories facilities in the Islands, these samples can be tested here itself, he stated.
Lauding RMRC (ICMR) for setting up advanced biomedical research facilities in the Islands, the Lt Governor stated that these facilities will give a great sense of relief, build the confidence and raise the morale of the people of the islands by timely detection and diagnosis to enable the Medical Department to contain the outbreak of such diseases and its spread to other islands. He appreciated RMRC (ICMR) for identifying Andaman Hemorrhagic Fever (locally referred)-a dreadful disease of these islands in the past, as Leptospirosis, which have been recognized by WHO and designated RMRC as the collaborating centre for diagnosis, research, reference and training in Leptospirosis, with one of the terms of reference to establish reference laboratories in South East Asian countries. He also noted with appreciation that WHO had nominated the Director of RMRC as the member of Leptospira Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (LERG), with the mandate to coordinate and direct global research and action against human Leptospirosis, advise the WHO for estimating the disease burden due to Leptospirosis in South East Asia. Further, the centre has quite recently established the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) for assessing the health and nutritional status, with reference to diabetes, hypertension and assessing lipid profiles of the residents of the Islands, he stated.
In his address, the Secretary, Department of Health Research & Director General, ICMR, Dr. V. M. Katoch stated that the institution has completed 30 years of services in the Islands and since its establishment in the year 1993 in a rented building, this institution had achieved tremendous growth over the years. He further stated that the Islands are among the few selected places where facilities like the bio-safety laboratories and other research facilities have been established.
Earlier, welcoming the chief guest and others, the Director, Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR) Dr. P. Vijayachari explained briefly about the importance, functions and use of bio-safety laboratories. The function concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr. Shriram, Scientist, ICMR, Port Blair.
The Lt Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, cutting the ribbon to inaugurate the Bio-Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories set up by the RMRC at its premises on Wednesday—IP&T