High security animal laboratory to be set up in Orissa

March 31st, 2008 - 1:24 pm ICT by admin  

By Jatindra Dash
Bhubaneswar, March 31 (IANS) A high security laboratory, which would be one of its kind in Southeast Asia, will be set up in Orissa this year to fight foot and mouth disease that affects about 470 million domestic livestock annually. “The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), an autonomous national organisation under the central government, recently approved the establishment of the laboratory at Jatani on the outskirt of the capital city Bhubaneswar,” director of the state animal husbandry department Bishnupada Sethi told IANS Sunday.

It is going to be the first such centre of India and one of its kind in Southeast Asia with the Bio Safety Level (3+) facilities which will work for proper control and containment of virulent, pathogenic and mutagenic foot and mouth disease viruses, he said.

Bio-safety Level 3 facility expands the capability of researchers to conduct research on potential viral agents that do not currently have vaccines or therapies.

It is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents that may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure by the inhalation route, he said.

Stringent safeguards are kept to avoid escape of pathogens to the environment. In addition, facilities are designed to prevent physical contact between pathogens and lab personnel inside the workspace.

People working in laboratory wear special protective suits with filtered air supply and work within airtight cabinetry.

Foot and mouth disease is endemic in India. It is present almost in all parts of the country and occurs round the year. It also hits free-living and captive ungulates and elephants.

The annual loss due to this disease in India is estimated at $800 million.

The disease samples will be received from the entire country as well as from abroad for proper identification and characterisation of the biological pathogen that caused the disease.

It will also serve as a repository unit for various serotypes - a grouping of viruses of the foot and mouth disease, Sethi said.

The research will help in manufacturing of foot and mouth disease vaccine through proper inclusion of emerging strains of concerned virus, he added.

As foot and mouth disease is a contagious disease of economic importance affecting all cattle, sheep and goats, control of such disease through proper preventive measures like vaccination, quarantine and supportive treatment carries a lot of importance, he said.

The state government has already identified an area of 116.325 acres located 25 km away from the state capital to be given to ICAR for the laboratory.

The centre, which will also serve as a referral laboratory for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will be more technologically advanced than the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, said B. Patnaik, a scientist.

Patnaik is the project director on foot and mouth disease at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Mukteswar, Nainital in Uttarakhand. The central government will spend about Rs.1.25 billion for the initial work, he said.

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