Kerala to get advanced virology institute

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan releases the logo for Institute of Advanced VirologyChief minister Pinarayi Vijayan releases the logo for Institute of Advanced Virology
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Kerala’s concern over the lack of facilities for testing and doing research on viruses will no longer be a problem as the phase-I of the institute of advanced virology (IAV) will be inaugurated by the chief minister on Saturday. The institute – which has come up at Bio 360 Life Science Park at Thonnakkal in the capital – is affiliated to Global Virus Network (GVN) that has 45 centres of excellence in over 29 countries.

The Thonnakkal institute will be connected to all these centres and the vast network of virologists aid faster detection and prevention of virus-borne diseases such as Nipah, said GVN senior adviser Dr M V Pillai. At present, Kerala is depending on institutes outside the state to detect certain dangerous viruses due to the lack of advanced facilities.


Initially, the institute will be linked to a European centre (one in Karolinska Institute) and an Asian Centre (one in Japan) as an affiliate until IAV becomes a full-fledged centre. “These two institutes will train and guide the faculty and physicians. Under their training, we expect the institute to grow within two years as a centre of excellence,” said Dr Pillai.

After Nipah outbreak, government decided to build its own virology institute under Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment. “During phase-I, focus will be on setting up worldclass labs to diagnose viral infections common in India. During phase-II, epidemiological study will be conducted among Keralites, which will help determine factors associated with specific diseases and analyse factors that may help prevent diseases,” he said.

In phase-III, the focus will be on virus-related cancer and in phase-IV training will be given to medical doctors as clinical virologists so that they can detect and treat diseases efficiently. In phase-V, the institute will focus on vaccine production, added Dr Pillai.

The foundation stone for the institute was laid on May 30, 2018 and 28,000 sq ft building was completed by January. It is coming up in 25 acres. Once it is completed, it will have 1 lakh sq ft facility with international standards.