New Delhi (The Hawk): Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides requisite guidance and logistic support to the States/UTs. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme through its State and District units conducts disease surveillance in the country through a decentralized State based surveillance system for epidemic prone diseases to detect the early warning signals, so that effective public health actions can be initiated in response to health challenges in the country.
For preparedness and response against health emergencies, the National Disaster Management Authority in 2008 has issued detailed guidance on management of biological disasters.
Further, National Disaster Management Authority has also issued and widely circulated National Disaster Management Plan 2019 which provides an all-hazard plan with clarification on roles and responsibilities for preparedness and response activities against biological emergencies.
As per the information received from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), the DBT has notified a “List of Infective Microorganisms corresponding to different Risk Groups, 2021” which provides the list of Infective Microorganisms corresponding to different Risk Groups, which determine the operational practice and minimum physical containment requirements and accordingly, allows selection of appropriate biosafety level facilities.
Furthermore, 138 bio-safety laboratories have been set up across the country under the Department of Health Research (DHR)’s Scheme- Setting up of Nation-wide network of Laboratories for managing Epidemics and Natural Calamities (VRDL). Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has a well-established laboratory infrastructure, to combat biosafety and biosecurity threats to the country, including apex lab at National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune
DBT has notified the “Guidelines for the Establishment of containment facilities: BioSafety Level 2 (BSL-2) & 3 (BSL-3) and Certification of BSL-3 facility” and Regulations & Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research and Biocontainment, 2017. The guidelines encompass biosafety standards laid by various international agencies. All the biosafety laboratories specifically BSL-4 and BSL-3 established at ICMR and its network laboratories are trained in Biosafety laboratory operationalization. The key scientific staff of ICMR-NIV, Pune has also been trained at Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA in biosafety practices. The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.