The Division of Virology at ICMR-NARI is performing basic and applied research in the areas of HIV virology and other HIV-associated opportunistic viruses. Our research is focussed on the molecular virology of HIV, HSV, HCV and HPV infections. A central objective of our research is the characterization of virus-host interactions regarding viral replication and virus-associated pathogenesis. Hereby we focus on the characterization of functional and structural prerequisites for viral replication and the identification of pathogenic mechanisms triggered by viral proteins. The detailed in vitro and in vivo characterization of virus-host interactions will serve to specifically investigate the function of viral and cellular organelles that have regulatory, immunomodulatory and/or pathogenic potential. Better comprehension of molecular pathogenesis in viral infection will lead to the rational improvement of diagnostic tools, prognostic markers and biological medicines.
The division is also dealing on RNA interference, i.e. miRNA or siRNA as potential therapeutics. Moreover, we work on the development and preclinical evaluation of novel antivirals, biological products and phytochemicals with improved safety and optimized efficacy. Expertise in the area of HIV-1 viral load has led to identification of ICMR-NARI as the Apex laboratory, by the National AIDS Control Organization, with an added responsibility of managing the countrywide HIV-1 viral load proficiency testing.