By: Preety Chaudhary
New Delhi, November:
BSL 3 facility at the campus for handling airborne diseases first of its kind in South India
A Vaccine Testing and Research Facility for a host of ailments, including cancers and infectious diseases, will be set up at the second campus of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in Thiruvananthapuram, Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh announced today.
Addressing the Annual General Body meeting of the RGCB held here, he said the centre will also have a BSL 3 facility for handling airborne viruses, including the one that spawned the COVID-19 pandemic. This facility will be the first of its kind in South India.
The second campus of the RGCB, to be named as “Shri Guruji Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar National Centre for Complex Disease in Cancer and Viral Infection,” is expected to be ready for dedication to the nation in the next few months. The campus is coming up at Akkulam in Thiruvananthapuram.
RGCB is an autonomous institution under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
Dr Singh, who is also the President of the RGCB Society, said RGCB will be developed as a hub for research and testing of multiple vaccines such as cancer vaccine and those for infectious diseases, including COVID-19. “This will bring huge recognition for RGCB in the specific area of vaccine research and development,” he noted.
The minister lauded the RGCB’s model of supporting both innovative research and biotechnology incubation facility.
RGCB Director Prof Chandrabhas Narayana explained the new facilities that would be created in the new campus.
He said the centre would have cutting edge technologies, therapies, clinical trials for cancer vaccines and immune therapeutics. It will also have facilities for therapies such as stem cell replacement, gene therapy, molecular tumour, targeting and imaging.
Those who attended today’s meeting include: Dr Rajesh S Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Shri Vishvajit Sahay, Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, DBT, Shri Sunil Kumar, Joint Secretary, DBT, Dr Sundeep Sarin, Scientific Coordinator for RGCB at DBT, and Dr Shekhar C Mande, Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) & Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).