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India training scientists from other countries to counter monkeypox threat

So far, India has reported nine cases of monkeypox. While five cases are reported in Kerala and three cases were detected in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)Premium
So far, India has reported nine cases of monkeypox. While five cases are reported in Kerala and three cases were detected in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

  • ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, is training experts from Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Åland Islands, Indonesia, Maldives, Bangladesh, Singapore, El Salvador to tackle the new threat

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NEW DELHI: With escalating monkeypox concerns, scientists at ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune are training experts from Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Åland Islands, Indonesia, Maldives, Bangladesh, Singapore, El Salvador to tackle the new threat. As part of India’s response to sequestering its population from the new threat, NIV scientists are training their counterparts in these countries on testing, clinical symptoms, case definitions, sample collection, and equipment required for testing.

So far, India has reported nine cases of monkeypox. While five cases are reported in Kerala and three cases were detected in New Delhi.

“ICMR- NIV, Pune has been conducting such training programmes for other countries from time to time, like we did during the Covid pandemic time and even before for biosafety and biorisk mitigation. If these countries develop the capacity to diagnose and detect monkeypox cases in their own countries, then that would enhance the screening of the suspected cases and reduce the travel-related importation of cases to other countries. In our last capacity-building programme which was held on Monday, around 139 participants from various countries participated," Dr Pragya Yadav, senior scientist at NIV, Pune said.

“We not only offer the capacity-building programme to other countries but also provide testing kits, reagents and probes to other countries whenever we get such requests," Dr Prof. Priya Abraham (Director of NIV Pune) said.

Monkeypox is characterised by fever with an unexplained acute rash all over the body. Other symptoms include headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and body aches, back pain and profound weakness.

Last week, the institute at the apex NIV lab isolated the monkeypox virus strain to help pharmaceutical companies to develop monkeypox vaccine and diagnostic kits. Besides this, the institute has been designated as a referral laboratory for testing suspected cases. In addition, 15 other ICMR-VRDL (Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory) network laboratories have been optimised to undertake diagnostic testing for monkeypox disease.

Meanwhile, the centre has constituted a national task force to monitor the development of diagnostics and vaccines. The union government has instructed airport and port health officers to remain vigilant and undertake rigorous health screening of incoming international passengers.

According to WHO, till July 27th, around 18,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally from 78 countries and five deaths have been reported.

 

 

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