Centre of Excellence (COE) – HIV Care
Virology
Professor & Unit –In-Charge : Prof. (Dr.) Nemai Bhattacharya
Associate Professor : Dr. (Mrs.) Bhaswati   Bandopadhyay
RMO cum Clinical Tutor : Dr. (Mrs.) Sreema Adhikary
Medical Technologist : i) Sri Pradip Kumar Roy
: ii) Sri Tapan Kumar Kar
: iii) Sri Astom Adak (on deputation)
: iv) Abdul Rafique
G.D.A. : i) Sri Bijoy Sankar Lal
: ii) Md. Kamruddin
C.T. & S.W. : i) Sri Puran Balmiki (deputed to Animal House)
: ii) Sri Ramesh Paul
: iii) Sri Sankar LaL Balmiki

Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC)
Laboratory Technologist : a) Sri Ashis Kumar Paul
  : b) Sri Suman Mohan Chowdhury
  : c) Sri Partha Pratim Bhukta
Counselor : a) Mrs. Arunita Mukherjee
  : b) Mrs. Moumita Roy
  : c) Mrs. Sampa Das

National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for HIV testing & EQAS
Technical Officer : Smt Saiantani Mondal
Senior Laboratory Technologist(EQA & NRL) : Sri Adhir Kumar Ghosh
Laboratory Technologist (NRL) : Sri Surya Kumar Haldar

Short History :

  • The Department of Virology of School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata was set up under the stewardship of Professor J.K. Sarkar, the then Head of the department in 1961. At that time, Prof. J.K. Sarkar established a highly accomplished in –bred Swiss Mice Colony as well as an experimental mice laboratory in the department in collaboration with Rockefeller Foundation, USA.
  • Later on , different other sections including a sophisticated Tissue Culture Laboratory for Virus isolation, was set up and the department was recognized by the W.H.O. as a reference Laboratory for diagnosis of Arbo-Viral  infections.
  • Detection of HIV /AIDS and HBV was first introduced by ELISA method in 1987 and till date, this department has taken a leading role in the field of diagnosis of research of HIV /AIDS and Hepatitis. At present, it acts as a National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for QA and QC for HIV /AIDS as  well as houses on ICTC. This department is also recognized as Centre of Sentinel Surveillance for HIV /AIDS and Japanese Encephalitis & Surveillance centre for DBS (Dried Blood Spot) for HIV /AIDS   “The tissue Culture Unit” of this department has functioned  as “Polio vaccine potency testing unit” for N.E. region of the country from 1989 up to 2003.
  • The routine sero diagnosis of common viral diseases are done using commercially available ELISA Test Kits. HI test for Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya are done with In-house preparation of killed mouse brain antigen. Attempts to isolate Arbo –Viruses are done from acute serum samples of patients using suckling mice model.

Routine Activities :
Routine laboratory  activities of the department include HI for Arbo Viruses (Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis, Chikungunya), ELISA for Hepatitis B, Anti – HCV, Anti –HAV, Anti –HEV, Anti –HSV I & II, HIV.

A. Arbo viruses –
 i.  Isolation of Arbo virus in suckling mice model
 ii. Dengue – NS1 antigen detection and IgM antibody detection,
                        iii. Chikungunya – IgM antibody detection
                        iv. Japanese Encephalitis – IgM antibody detection

B. Hepatitis viruses – 
i.   Hepatitis B surface antigen
                        ii.  Hepatitis Be antigen
iii. Hepatitis A antibody
                        iv. Hepatitis C antibody
                        v.  Hepatitis E antibody

C. HIV serology –
                        i. ICTC – Routine testing on HIV
                        ii. NRL –
                    a. Conducts proficiency testing and panel sera distribution (HIV EQAS) to the     HIV State Reference Laboratories (SRL) of West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim and           Chhattisgarh
                    b. Confirmation of Indeterminate and discordant samples by Western Blot test
                    c.  Confirmation of HIV 2 by Western Blot test (NRL is also designated as Referral Lab for the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim and Jharkhand  for HIV 2 diagnosis)

Total test result is shown in Table 1, 2 & 3 :       
The Department has taken the active part as well as play the leading role in the Outbreak investigations as well as in the public awareness Programme. In 2012 the department has investigated for “D” / CHIK / JE outbreak in different district.

Teaching Activities :
The faculties take classes for the Post Graduate Students of the institution and students of M.D. Microbiology of  Health University, West Bengal.

Course Theory Practical
M.D. Microbiology 15 Throughout the year as on rotational basis
M.D. Tropical Medicine 10  
DCP 4  
DMLT 15 10

Various projects done by the Postgraduate and under graduate students from Universities all over India specially students of Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Stream.

Training Programme conducted by faculties of Virology unit :

  1. Faculties of Virology Unit were invited as a resource person for the Training Programme of Counsellors for HIV/AIDS organized by BSF Hospital Kolkata.
  2. NRL and ICTC STM conducted several batches of Training Programme for ICTC Laboratory Technicians of Different Districts of West Bengal in Collaboration with WBSAP & CS.
  3. NRL STM conducted review meeting and workshop for the technical officers of State Reference Laboratories of West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim and Chhattishgarh bi-annually.
  4. Imparted training on Vector born viral disease to the medical officers of different districts of West Bengal.
  5. Imparted training on HIV diagnosis and CD4 testing to medical officers of different ART centers of India.

Publication :

  • Publication in Journal :
          i.   Bhaswati Bandyopadhyay, Satadal Das, Milan Sengupta, Chandan Saha, Nemai Bhattacharya, Chinta Raveendar, Rathin Chakravarty, Krishnangshu Ray and Chaturbhuja Nayak. Suckling Mice of “Belladonna 200” Fed Mothers Evade Virulent Nakayama Strain Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infection. International Journal of Microbiological Research 2011, 2 (3): 252-257.
          ii.  Amiya Kumar Hati, Indranil Bhattacharjee, Hiranmoy Mukherjee, Bhaswati Bandyopadhyay, Deban Bandyopadhyay, Rajyashree De and Goutam Chandra. Concurrent Dengue and Malaria in an area in Kolkata. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine 2012, 412-420.
  • Publication in Books :
    i.   Bhaswati Bandyopadhyay, Satadal Das, Milan Sengupta, Chandan Saha, Chinta Raveendar, Rathin Chakravarty, Chaturbhuja Nayak Anil Khurana and Krishnangshu Ray. “The Role of ‘Belladonna 200’ in the Prevention of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) Virus Infection”

Scientific Papers Presented in Conferences by the Student in 2012 :

  • A brief study on Chikungunya cases attending  a  tertiary  care hospital in Kolkata, presented by Dr. Jayashree Konar in Delhi, 22-25th Nov, 2012.

Projects undertaken :

  • Studies on antiviral therapy (in the management of chronic liver diseases) that limits the emergence of resistance in HIV/HBV co-infection. Funded by ICMR. Duration 2011-2014.
  • A pilot study on early diagnosis of Dengue infection by NS1 Antigen detection and correlation of clinical and laboratory parameters with disease outcome. Funded by NRHM Bengal. Duration 2011-2013.
  • A study on early diagnosis of Dengue infection by NS1 Antigen and prediction of disease outcome by clinical and laboratory parameters. Funded by NRHM Bengal, Duration 2011-2013.

Ph.D and MD thesis under taken :

  • A comparative study on early diagnosis of Dengue infection by NS1 antigen and IgM antibody detection by ELISA technique – MD thesis of Dr. Jayashree Konar
  • A comparative study of Japanese encephalitis vaccine and homoeopathic medicines in prevention of Japanese encephalitis virus infection in mice – PhD thesis of Dr. Milan Sengupta
  • In vitro and In vivo antiviral efficacy of ultradiluted Belladonna compound on Japanese Encephalitis infection in experimental models – PhD thesis of Dr. Bhaswati Bandyopadhyay

Other Activity :

  • Surveillance laboratory for Dengue, Chikungunya and Japanese Encephalitis
  • Patient care services related to CD4 testing
  • HIV sentinel surveillance
  • Research activities
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