scientists have accused the Indian Council of Medical Research (icmr) of scuttling the country's influenza research projects. The issue comes to light at a time when the avian flu " a (h5n1)" has wrecked havoc in Hong Kong.
Kalyan Banerjee, former director of the Pune-based National Institute of Virology, criticised the icmr for sabotaging a proposal project of the country's first high security laboratory at Bhosari near Pune. According to Banerjee, despite the approval of the project in 1975, it was sabotaged by the Council. It had been planned to network the laboratory with all the 26 laboratories of the icmr. Had the project been completed, it would have been the premier influenza laboratory of the country, he said.
The plan also envisaged the initiation of a National Reagent Programme at the laboratory. Banerjee said that by this time, India could have had the knowledge of all the viral diseases found throughout the country.
The understanding could have helped the country detect several viruses and take required precautions during a viral outbreak.
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