New Delhi: A day after a 35-year-old man of African origin with no recent history of foreign travel tested positive for Monkeypox in Delhi thereby taking the total count to 8 in the country, a top scientist has said that Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDL) has tested about a 100 samples till Wednesday morning.
Speaking to today, Dr Pragya Yadav, a senior scientist at ICMR-NIV, Pune said, “Till August 2 morning, we have tested approximately 100 samples at ICMR-NIV Pune and VRDL.”
Notably, the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi has also started testing samples for detecting Monkeypox as ICMR-NIV is sharing reagents with NCDC and with a network of 15 laboratories spread across the country.
“There are 15 Virus research and diagnostic laboratories (VRDLs) trained to undertake the diagnostic testing with ICMR -NIV Pune. We have shared reagents to NCDC, Delhi and AIIMS Delhi for performing testing. ICMR-NIV, Pune is a nodal center for testing and coordination,” said Dr Pragya Yadav.
Upon being questioned whether samples are still pending for testing, she said, “We do not have any samples pending for testing as of now. Sample testing is a continuous process and it is being processed.”
“Samples are collected on the basis of guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry,” she said
Upon being asked whether ICMR- NIV has isolated the virus and what is the next step that it is most likely to take to control the spread of the virus, Dr Pragya further opined, “Isolation of Monkeypox virus is carried out in Vero cells using the clinical specimens of Monkeypox virus positive confirmed case.”
“To characterize further, Monkeypox virus isolates in cell culture and animal model. To develop indigenous serological assays for Monkeypox diagnosis and for sero-surveillance studies and to develop a vaccine candidate and assess its immunogenicity in animal models.”
On surveillance, she said, “VRDL network is already strengthened to undertake the surveillance as well as a differential diagnosis of the suspected cases.”
India’s monkeypox tally touched eight on Tuesday with two more cases being confirmed — one in Kerala and the other in Delhi.
The case in Kerala is of a 30-year-old man who returned last week from the UAE. The state’s Monkeypox tally has now touched five. Notably, all 5 of them have a history of travel to the UAE.