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HSADL preparations reviewed

A HIGH-LEVEL meeting was today reportedly conducted at the High-Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) here in view of the confirmation of first cases of bird flu in country.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 14:30 IST

A HIGH-LEVEL meeting was today reportedly conducted at the High-Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) here in view of the confirmation of first cases of bird flu in country.

Although there was no official confirmation, it was said that the higher officials of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), including director general Dr Mangla Rai, who took stock of the preparations of the laboratory to handle the expected flooding of samples from across the country.

Also, plans were reportedly drawn out for future action. None of the officials, including the deputy director in-charge Dr H K Pradhan, could be contacted in the matter.

HSADL is the only bio-safety level-4 laboratory in the country with the facilities for testing various highly contagious diseases in animals including bird flu. Although it tested more than 30,000 samples over the last few years, this is the first time that tests for H5 N1 virus have come out to be positive.

Sources said that apart from further tests on samples collected from Nandurbar and Dhule districts of Maharashtra, samples from across the country were being analysed.

The HSADL has been analysing various samples right from the onset of the winter season when cases of bird flu were reported in some countries and the central government sounded alert in the country. In year 2005 about 20000 samples were tested, most of them in months of November and December.

Before that since year 2001, when the laboratory was set up about 8000 samples had been tested. During the one and half months too thousands of samples have been tested in the laboratory.

It was upon the suggestion of the HSADL that the droppings collection began for sample analysis. Earlier, dead birds were sent out to the laboratory. But the laboratory suggested that the fecal matter, that was easier to collect, preserve and send across, should be collected.

Also, the laboratory recently developed indigenous reagent recently that drastically cut down the cost of testing as also the dependence on foreign countries – mainly USA and Australia — for getting the reagents.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 14:30 IST