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New General Hospital Lab to Help Detection of Viral Diseases

The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) may soon be able to help in the early detection of viral diseases, including dengue and H1N1.

A molecular virology laboratory will soon come up at the hospital. The government has sanctioned funds for the facility.

In addition to the GH, the labs will come up at the government medical college hospitals at Madurai, Coimabatore and Tirunelveli. The government has sanctioned a total of Rs. 4.41 crore for the labs.

The purpose of setting up the lab at GH was to facilitate early diagnosis of viral diseases, including influenza, dengue and chikungunya, and provide diagnostic results in a short span of time to enable early treatment for patients using molecular techniques, according to officials. Molecular virology is an advanced methodology by which rapid detection of viruses is possible during the early stages of the disease itself, said a staff member of department of microbiology at GH.

“It will help in the rapid diagnosis of communicable viral diseases, including dengue and H1N1 and also, tumour causing viruses,” she said. Viruses that are present throughout the year such as hepatitis B and C and herpes viruses will also be tested for.

“Take a patient with dengue for instance. From day one to three, the body does not produce antibodies. If there is prevalence of dengue and the patient arrives with typical symptoms, her blood sample could be subjected to molecular testing. This way, the complications of dengue can be prevented,” she said.

“Molecular techniques are done based on the symptoms and clinical conditions of the patients. This will benefit poor patients,” she added.

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