Govt launches consortium for bacterial, viral, parasitic infection surveillance

NEW DELHI: The Department of Biotechnology, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, on Thursday launched India’s first mega consortium on ‘One Health’.

The programme envisages surveillance of important bacterial, viral and parasitic infections of zoonotic as well as transboundary pathogens across India. Use of existing diagnostic tests and development of additional methodologies when required are mandated for the surveillance and for understanding the spread of emerging diseases.

The government said the covid-19 pandemic has shown the relevance of ‘One Health’ principles in governance of infectious diseases, especially efforts to prevent and contain zoonotic diseases throughout the world. The risk of infectious agents capable of jumping barriers of species is increasing, mainly because of the potential of novel infectious agents to spread rapidly around the world due to increased cross-border travel, trade, and food habits. Such diseases have devastating impacts on animals, human, health systems, and economies, requiring years of social and economic recovery, as per a government statement.

“The Consortium, consisting of 27 organisations led by DBT-National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad, is one of the biggest one health programs launched by government of India in post-COVID times,” said Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, said.

Swarup emphasised on the need of a holistic approach to understand health of human, animals and wildlife to minimise damage caused by future pandemics. International and national speakers shared their views on initiating and nurturing the concept of ‘One Health’ where man, animal, plants and environment are needed to be considered complimentary to each other for maintaining health of all.

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