As part of India’s response to protecting its population from the new threat, NIV scientists are training their counterparts in these countries on testing, clinical symptoms, case definitions, sample collection, and equipment required for testing.
NIV Pune has been conducting such training programmes for other countries from time to time, like it did during the COVID-19 pandemic and even before for biosafety and bio-risk mitigation, said Dr Pragya Yadav, a senior scientist at NIV Pune.
If these countries develop the capacity to diagnose and detect monkeypox cases, that would enhance the screening of the suspected cases and reduce the travel-related importation of cases to other countries, he said.
According to the scientist, some 139 participants from various countries participated in the last capacity-building programme which was launched on August 1.
The institute does not only offer the capacity-building programme but also provides testing kits, reagents and probes for other countries upon request, said Prof., Dr Priya Abraham, Director of NIV Pune.
Last week, the NIV lab isolated the monkeypox virus strain to help pharmaceutical companies to develop monkeypox vaccine and diagnostic kits. Besides this, the institute has been designated as a referral laboratory for testing suspected cases. In addition, 15 other ICMR-VRDL (Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory) network laboratories have been optimised to undertake diagnostic testing for monkeypox disease.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as of July 27, around 18,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally from 78 countries and five deaths have been reported.