‘SKIMS Influenza Lab Fails Flu Surveillance’

Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said that the influenza laboratory at SKIMS that was set up for “flu surveillance has failed’ in its purpose.

“Despite spending huge amount of money on it,” president DAK and flu ‘expert’ Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said, “SKIMS influenza lab has failed to serve its purpose.”

The lab was hugely funded by United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) with an aim to monitor flu activity and disease pattern in the community, said the DAK statement.

“It was created to determine what influenza viruses are circulating and identify the dominant strain and whether these circulating viruses match the current vaccine. We have no idea about the disease burden in the community. We don’t know the impact influenza is having on hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr Hassan said. “The lab has miserably failed to achieve its goal and, in fact, has become conduit for corruption.”

“In view of unpredictability of flu viruses, the lab was established to observe any change in circulating viruses and anticipate possible outbreak and alert public health authorities in advance for appropriate action,” said Dr Hassan.

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