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CDC supplies diagnostic reagents for bird flu investigation

Rahul Wadke

Testing the outbreak
CDC reagents could test a series of avian flu virus variants to establish the type currently hitting India.
National Institute of Virology was sharing its data with the CDC about the outbreak of avian f lu in Navapur.

Mumbai , Feb. 27

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, USA, has supplied diagnostic reagents (biochemicals) to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for absolute identification of bird flu virus in human samples.

CDC, Atlanta, is the world's leading authority on infectious diseases and one of the 13 major operating components of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Ms Kathryn Harben, Coordinating Office for Global Health, CDC, has confirmed that CDC has already shipped US Food and Drug Administration- approved diagnostic reagents to India for use in the investigation.

In an e-mail reply to Business Line she said, "CDC's influenza team has consulted with the National Institute of Virology in Pune and with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in Delhi about laboratory testing for H5N1. CDC has also shipped FDA-approved diagnostic reagents to India for use in the outbreak investigation. Discussions continue and CDC will work to respond to additional requests as received."

Sharing and comparing

Dr B.J. Rao, an eminent geneticist from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, said that CDC reagents could test a series of avian flu virus variants to establish the type currently hitting India.

"A thorough analysis on large number of samples is very important. It is equally important that our results should be shared and compared with the existing CDC data to unveil the overall prevalence patterns of this viral spread," he said.

The Director of NIV was not available for comment.

Mr Vijay Satbir Singh, Public Health Secretary, Maharashtra, said that NIV was sharing its data with the CDC about the outbreak of avian flu in Navapur. We could think of a long-term collaboration with the CDC, but it would be very premature for me to comment now," he said.

Mr Singh said that officials from the US Consul Office in Mumbai had contacted him, as they were worried about the health of their citizens in the city. "We have informed them that the poultry products supply for the city is from western Maharashtra and not Navapur, which is in the northern part of the State," Mr Singh said.

No human cases

Of the 14 people who were admitted to isolation ward at Navapur Hospital, three were discharged on Friday, as they did not develop any avian flu symptoms during their mandatory quarantine period. Rest of the patients would be discharged by Monday, Mr Singh said.

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