Hyderabad, July 2 (IANS) Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday underlined the need for research to predict zoonotic diseases better.
Alluding to zoonotic diseases like Covid-19, he urged the researchers and zoos to utilize their resources and expertise optimally to predict emerging infectious diseases from animals to humans.
He visited Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad on Friday. The Vice President interacted with the wildlife scientists and saw the main facilities for wildlife conservation at LaCONES. This included the National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank and the Assisted Reproduction Lab.
He also released a book on ‘Introduction to Genetic Resource Banks for Wildlife Conservation’ authored by LaCONES and Central Zoo Authority.
Venkaiah Naidu emphasized on the importance of studying wildlife for conserving endangered species and to also understand and predict zoonotic diseases better. “Research institutes such as LaCONES-CCMB and zoos have to work together. Zoos across the country can avail the different modern biology tools for studying diseases in wildlife, preserve their genetic material, avail assisted reproductive technologies. They should also be a partner in research to understand reproductive anatomy and physiology in wildlife,” he said.
Recently Central Zoo Authority formed a consortium of six zoos from different parts of India and LaCONES-CCMB. “Central Zoo Authority has been instrumental in bringing zoos together with a research institute like ours. We want this consortium to set an example of how zoos and a wildlife research institute like LaCONES can work cohesively towards shared goals. The National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank at LaCONES can become a storehouse of biological samples from all zoos in India. These samples can then be used for artificial insemination, creating sperms and oocytes through modern biotechnological tools, and help revive the endangered animals,” said Dr Karthikeyan Vasudevan, Scientist-in-charge at LaCONES-CCMB.
Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB observed that in the current scene of climate change and a pandemic, it is necessary and timely that active collaborations happen between molecular biologists, ecologists and zoos. “Many countries have shown examples of how this can be done impactfully. And LaCONES-CCMB has demonstrated its capabilities over the last decade. It is time for Indian zoos to take advantage of our tools and expertise,” he said.