The Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory is a Biosafety Level-2 (BSL-2) facility which is one of the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) recognised RT-PCR COVID-19 testing laboratories in Nagaland. As mass testing became imperative for containing the pandemic, the BSL-2 facility was inaugurated on 27th June 2020 to join the other State BSL laboratories to intensify testing efficiency. Having performed over 41,000 tests, the laboratory is nestled in a 900 sq. ft. area attached to the Department of Laboratory Sciences. The laboratory has also been part of the ICMR LQC (ICMR Laboratory Quality Control) program for COVID-19 test, with score of 100% concordance.
BSL facilities are mainly employed for conducting experiments related to rDNA (recombinant DNA) research, handling of hazardous microorganisms and GE (Genetically engineered) organisms or cells. These special facilities are essential for containing and minimizing risk exposure to all identified elements such as the working personnel and environment. The principle is to provide protection from risk(s) posed by risk-inherent organisms (GE and non-GE microorganisms, animal, plants, arthropods, aquatic animals, etc.) during their use in laboratory. It encompasses specific approach to facility design, engineering, location, operational practices and procedures.
High-risk pathogen handling
The BSL-2 facility in CIHSR is mainly designed for handling pathogens upto Risk Group-2, with negative-pressured room, biosafety cabinet class A2, refrigerated centrifuge with safety cups, and layout like double door system and controlled access. This facilitates handling of high-risk or infectious sample handling such as viruses, bacteria, parasite, fungus, drug resistant organisms and even be used for molecular outbreak investigations of diseases.
Molecular diagnostics and Research activities
Some key equipment present in the facility includes Real-time PCR, Thermal Cycler, automated nucleic acid extractor, NanoDrop and Ultra freezers. Their applications are wide for use in research and molecular diagnosis of both infectious and non-infectious diseases in the field of virology, bacteriology, parasitology, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), genetic/metabolic disorders, reproductive health, cardiovascular diseases.
With the availability of upscale facility and high-skilled staff, distinct opportunity arises for students, interns and staffs to leverage their theoretical knowledge with practical exposure and develop research aptitude. Following are some areas of training offered