NEW DELHI: President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday unveiled the foundation stone for ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), South Zone at Bengaluru virtually.
While unveiling the foundation stone, President Murmu said that it is good to know that National Institute of Virology has been designated as one of the collaborating laboratories of World Health Organization.
"I am glad to know that Indian Council of Medical Research has provided exemplary support for effective Covid management and is expanding its research infrastructure. National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune is also taking all possible steps to increase R&D in the field of virology. The expansion of National Institute of Virology through Zonal Campuses across the country catering to the demands in the different geographical regions is praiseworthy", the President stated.
She also applauded the country's "biggest vaccination drive in human history with vaccines manufactured in the country itself".
"In combating the pandemic, our achievements have been better than those of many developed countries. For this feat, we are grateful to our scientists, doctors, nurses, paramedics and the staff associated with vaccination," she said.
Minister of State for Health Dr Bharti Pravin Pawar was also present on the occasion. She said that the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has leveraged technology in health sector so that any outbreak can be investigated at an early stage and necessary action is taken to contain it. This new NIV is a step further to strengthen the health defence system.
Dr Pawar said that under Prime Minister Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), funds have been approved to set up multisector national institutions and platforms including 4 Zonal National Institutes of Virology (NIVs) towards bio-security preparedness and strengthening pandemic research across the country.
"ICMR-NIV investigated potential antiviral drugs, undertook several kit validations, developed new diagnostics with large-scale training which contributed in making India's first indigenous vaccine, COVAXIN. These efforts equipped the country against the initial spread of SARS CoV-2. As a result of which, today the whole world looks towards India in research and development in healthcare", she added.
MoS Health added that "The pandemic exposed the frailties of health systems worldwide in recognizing and responding to emerging threats to public health. In this light, South Zone ICMR-NIV laboratory in Bengaluru will be equipped with a state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise in handling infectious agents of various risk groups.