COVID-19: No virologist, full-fledged laboratory in Meghalaya

At a time when there is a surge in Coronavirus infection, it has come to light that Meghalaya has not a single virologist.

Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare department has no virologist after the state’s lone virologist Antinoris Jyrwa retired eight years ago as director of health services (MI).

However, Jyrwa felt that medical students from the state should further specialize in this field as it is more of a technical and very important subject dealing with clinical research or work with patients afflicted with viruses.

“Meghalaya has micro-biologists and they can also do the work and the state can further train these micro-biologists as I said that it is more of a technical subject,” she said.

However, Director Health Services (MI) Aman War said that the department has no virologist due to absence of a full-fledged laboratory.

“We don’t have a full-fledged lab to have virologists. Earlier we had one virologist but has retired now,” War said.

When asked if the state needs virologists, especially in this time of pandemic, the senior medical official said: “What we need is to have dedicated health workers.”

Virologists are medical doctors overseeing diagnosis, management and prevention of infection. They are also scientists, who may drive research on various aspects of viruses. A virologist may be both a scientist and a physician.

On the other hand, War informed that a clinical management team has been formed, headed by Dr Andreas Dkhar, consultant general medicine of Shillong Civil Hospital in connection with the COVID-19 situation.

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