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Divisional Highlights

MICROBIOLOGY

Microbiology Division is involved in research activities and providing diagnostic support related to sexually transmitted and opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS. Following the first documentation of high prevalence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection among HIV-positive women from India, research studies related to molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of HPV infection and pre-cancer detection are being undertaken. Currently research towards deciphering the role of HPV intratype variants by cervical neoplastic status and HPV infection in men is ongoing. Studies towards understanding the molecular mechanisms associated with antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhea and Candida albicans were undertaken. Characterization of vaginal lactobacilli for identification and development as potential probiotics is being undertaken. Studies for evaluation of rapid diagnostic kits and dried blood spot based diagnostics were conducted in the division. Currently work towards evaluation of diagnostic utility of self-collected buccal swab specimen as a safer alternative to sputum for molecular detection of pulmonary tuberculosis is ongoing. The laboratory was involved with serosurveys for scrub typhus and other rickettsial infections. Presently the first survey for estimation of seroprevalence for Hepatitis B and C among adults in India is ongoing, while soon the survey for estimation of prevalence of sexually transmitted/reproductive tract infections among subpopulations at high risk of HIV will be initiated. The Division provides laboratory support for clinical trials, presently for the TB vaccine trial, METRIF trial, Vaginal Probiotic trial and the Prep trial. The laboratory participates in national and international External Quality Assessment programs (EQAS) and in the WHO Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme for South East Asia region. The laboratory is NABL accredited for serological assays, RNTCP recognized for TB CB-NAAT and WHO recognized for prequalification of diagnostic kits.