IAV, a high-end research facility, is the first virology institute in India to be linked to Global Virus Network The Institute of Advanced Virology (IAV), a high-end research facility, will have a key role in identifying the factors leading to the re-emergence of diseases in the State, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. Inaugurating the Phase 1 A building of the IAV at the Bio 360 Life Science Park at Thonnakkal, near here, on Saturday, Mr. Vijayan said the first virology institute in India to be affiliated to the Global Virus Network (GVN) would usher in several changes in the health sector. Better preparedness “While the State government has accorded high priority to infrastructure development in the sector, we continue to face several challenges; the Nipah virus outbreak, being an example. While the State earned many plaudits for its handling of the situation, there is much scope for improvement in terms of preparedness. This is where the IAV will play a crucial role,” he said. The first building of the project, being undertaken under the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), was constructed within four months of the work’s launch. Referring to the “unprecedented” pace of work, Mr. Vijayan said it reflected a positive work culture and confidence that any projects could be completed on time. Big contribution State Planning Board vice chairman V.K. Ramachandran said the institute would be one of Kerala’s biggest contributions to the country’s scientific endeavour “at a time when science and evidence-based reasoned analyses are under threat from pseudo-science and superstition.” The depth and spread of Kerala’s human resource in medical science would auger well for the institution. GVN president Christian Brechot said the institute would be an important component in the Global Virus Network. He attributed the emergence and re-emergence of viruses such as Ebola, Zika and Nipah to human actions such as migration, deforestation, and pollution, which modify ecosystems. Deputy Speaker V. Sasi presided. A. Sampath, MP; GVN senior adviser M.V. Pillai; virologist William Hall of University College, Dublin; Science and Technology Principal Secretary A. Jayathilak; KSCSTE member secretary S. Pradeep Kumar; and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) chairman Christy Fernandez spoke at the function.