Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], October 15 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday inaugurated operations of the first phase of the International Institute of Advanced Virology at the Life Science Park at Thonakkal in Thiruvananthapuram, through video conference.
Vijayan said the institute will become an institution of world-class standards in the field of health research.
During his inaugural address, Vijayan said, "We were able to prevent Nipah and contain Covid to an extent in Kerala because the state has a robust public health system. We have been able to raise the entire public health system in Kerala to the world-class standards through the Aradram Mission but that alone will not effectively prevent the health problems and new epidemics that we face, including lifestyle diseases."
"We need institutions like the Institute of Advanced Virology for this. We started the institute to predict and prevent such diseases. The institute will conduct research on various viruses, viral infections and review its clinical aspects," he added.
The chief minister said in 2017, based on the suggestions of world-renowned scientists, Prof MV Pillai and Dr Saragndharan, the state decided to set up a virology research centre.
"When the Nipah virus struck in 2018, we were able to prevent its spread through expert interventions in the health sector. The State Science, Technology and Environment Council was tasked with establishing the Institute of Virology. The scientists connected us to the World Virology Network collaborating with Dr Robert Gallo and Dr William Hall. Experts from India also cooperated," he added.
There are two major types of study facilities available today, which include diagnostic facilities and research facilities. The cooperation of ICMR, RGCB, NIST and IISER, all leading institutions in our country in this field, was ensured. Renowned virologist, Dr Akhil Banerjee was appointed as the Head of the Institute.
He said that the state government has decided to upgrade the institute to an autonomous institution once it becomes fully operational.
"As the development of the Institute of Virology progresses, research and activities of national and international importance will be undertaken. The government has decided to upgrade the institute, which is currently under the Department of Science and Technology, to an autonomous institution once it becomes fully operational," the Chief Minister said.
Eight scientific divisions are envisioned here based on various virology research topics. Clinical virology and viral diagnostics, which are related to the diagnostic system, are the first two categories. A total of 80,000 square feet of facilities will be set up for the institute, he added.
Ministers KK Shailaja and Kadakampally Surendran, and a host of scientists from India and abroad were present on the occasion. (ANI)