‘Biological warfare biggest threat to world today’

Biological warfare is the biggest threat that the world is facing today, said Dr A C Mishra, director, National Institute of Virology (NIV), addressing the gathering on the opening day of the of two-day conference on 'Healthcare and Research' at Bharati Vidyapeeth University Medical College on Friday.

Commenting on the small pox vaccine, Mishra said, "We have got rid of the disease but the danger has multiplied. The threat of biological warfare is a reality that we face. The type of warfare has changed and terrorists can use viruses as weapons."

Talking about the international regulations on getting a sample of deadly virus for experimental purpose, Mishra said, "Earlier, we could not even get a strain of virus for scientific purposes because we did not have facilities to keep it safe. But now we have a bio-safety level 4 laboratory in NIV."

Mishra emphasised the need for political will in the country for any research to succeed. "As long as there is no political will in the country, no research can do anything. For a programme to succeed, you should know how to convince politicians. It is very difficult to convince them unless they get foolproof results," said Mishra.

He said apart from political battle, a researcher has to also go through various regulation battles like ethical clearance, scientific clearance etc. "Earlier, there was a plan to link-up all medical universities. This would have facilitated research but the project never took off," said Mishra.

Mishra said there is a need for strong fundamentals in medical field to do good research. "Today, even PhD students are weak in basics of medical science. Hence, fundamentals should be taught well at undergraduate level so that they have strong basics when they do masters or PhD," added Mishra.

Lauding government's initiative to set up 200 research centers in the country in five years, he said, "Apart from All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, research conducted in other institutes is really poor."

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