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Diagnostic Virology

HomeResearch GroupsDiagnostic Virology
HomeResearch GroupsDiagnostic Virology
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Diagnostic Virology

The Diagnostic Virology Group, located in the Pashan campus of ICMR-National Institute of Virology, was established in 2014 and serves as the Resource Centre for Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories network (VRDLs) in India. In this capability, the Group aims to provide scientific, technical support to the VRDLs, conduct regular hands on training programs for scientific as well as technical staff from these laboratories. Reagent supply including kits, reference material (positive controls) for viral diagnosis by serological and molecular tests, conduct Quality Control/Quality Assurance and External Quality Assurance programs for serological and molecular tests are among the mandate of this group. The Group serves as the Apex Laboratory for Zika Diagnosis in the country, and coordinates the Zika surveillance activities in the network of 132 laboratories trained in laboratory diagnosis of Zika, located across the country. In addition, the Group also pursues basic and applied research on areas including viral pathogenesis (especially of Zika) and development of novel serodiagnostic reagents (Monoclonal antibodies)/assays on major human pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, Zika, Nipah, Kyasanur Forest Disease, Measles etc. The group also involved in collaborative efforts on SARS CoV-2 Vaccine development and vaccine efficacy testing by Neutralization assays.

Sr. No.Name of the staffDesignation
1Dr. Gajanan N. SapkalScientist F and Group Leader  
2Dr. Gururaj Rao DeshpandeScientist C 
3Dr. Pradnya ShindeScientist B 
Technical Staff
Sr. No.Name of the staffDesignation
1Mr.Balu N. TilekarTechnical Officer-C
2Mrs. Rashmi S. GunjikarSr. Technical Officer-I
3Mrs. Rashi SrivastavaTechnical Officer-A
4Mrs. Asha Satish SalunkeSr. Technician-II
5Mr. Shankar M. VidhateLaboratory Assistance-I
6Mrs.Kirtee Atul KhutwadTechnician-I
7Mr. Suresh Balaso KambleMulti Tasking Staff (Technical)
Ongoing Projects

Ongoing Projects

Significant research findings/contributions
  • Human resource development and laboratory capacity building: More than 100 Virus research and diagnostic laboratories (VRDL) were trained at Resource centre for VRDLs.
  • Established Quality assurance and Quality control program for VRDLs:
  • Established Zika surveillance network for: Surveillance for Zika infection in humans in India
  • a) Contributed in development of Zika virus diagnostic algorithm
  • b) Developed guidelines for collection and transport of samples for ZIKV testing.
  • c) Developed training modules on laboratory diagnosis of Zika virus infection
  • d) Trained 56 laboratories and established a network of trained laboratories for Zika surveillance across the country.
  • e) ICMR-NIV confirmed first Zika case detected in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (in 2016) and subsequent cases from Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu (2017).
  • f) Isolation of Country's first Zika virus prototype during the Jaipur outbreak; in vivo pathogenicity studies are currently underway.
  • g) ICMR-NIV developed an IgM ELISA for Zika (currently being validated)
  • h) Identification and confirmation of the first Zika Outbreak in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India..
  • i) A total of 159 cases were confirmed for Zika positivity which included patient contacts, febrile cases, and pregnant women (No; 62). .
  • j) Further sequence analysis demonstrated that Zika virus sequence detected in Gujarat, India [2017] seems to be an old Asian Zika virus strain. The current strain detected in Rajasthan [2018] seems to be evolved from another Zika virus, strain ancestor.
  • k) ICMR-NIV, in collaboration with ICMR and NIE, Chennai have started the ‘Cohorts for Zika Epidemiology in India (COZEI)’ Study in Jaipur, to study maternal and neonatal outcomes of gestational Zika infection

Research Areas

  • SARS CoV-2 Serology and serodiagnostic development
  • Zika virus diseases
  • Development of novel serodiagnostic assays, Large-scale sero surveys
  • Translational research
  • Resource centre for Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) Network (RCVRDL)
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