Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Agra (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 6 (ANI): Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the new research building 'Desikan Bhawan' equipped with a new COVID-19 diagnostic facility at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)'s National Jalma Institue for Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases (NJIL-OMD) in Agra.

The building was inaugurated in the presence of Director General ICMR and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Balram Bhargava.

"The building is dedicated to the research facilities like animal experimentation, COVID-19 diagnosis, whole-genome sequencing of different mycobacterial species, and phytochemical extraction from medicinal plants for anti-Tuberculosis (TB) drug development," read the press release by the Ministry.

The capacity of the COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory is around 1,200 samples per day. This COVID diagnostic lab is loaded with Biosafety level II cabinets, automated RNA extractors, and Real-Time PCR machines with which the diagnostic results can be reported within a day.

The minister highlighted and appreciated DG, ICMR for the work done during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to help in preventing and managing emerging infectious diseases and also the efforts towards tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment to achieve the goal of ending TB by 2025, the dream of our beloved Prime Minister.

ICMR Director-General, Balram Bhargava appreciated the work being carried out at ICMR's NJIL-OMD in the field of mycobacterial research. The DG, ICMR also remarked that ICMR has been very robust in managing COVID-19 by an intense diagnosis of COVID-19 across the ICMR institute labs which has facilitated the prompt management of the pandemic. It is the effort of ICMR which brought the vaccine for COVID-19 with 81 per cent efficacy.

The new building is named after Institute's first Director, Dr.K.V. Desikan, who also graced the occasion with his presence.

ICMR-National JALMA Institute for Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases, Agra was established in 1967 by the Japan Leprosy Mission for Asia (JALMA) and was handed over to the Indian Council of Medical Research in 1976. (ANI)

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