India building 3 labs to assess N-radiation damage

NEW DELHI: SCIENTISTS at INMAS are developing three new specialised laboratories which they say could boost India’s nuclear preparedness and help save thousands of lives in case of an atomic war or a nuclear disaster.  Biodosimetry labs are specialised centres for assisting medical management of radiation exposure in case of a nuclear disaster. Ideally, they should be connected with similar labs globally to help each other as a single country will not  be able to tackle nuclear disaster alone, said Aseem Bhatnagar, Additional Director at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) here.

As part of the emergency preparedness for nuclear disasters, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have made it mandatory for every country to develop Biodosimetry laboratories, he said.  According to experts, Biodosimetry labs alone can assess the severity of the damage caused by radiation during nuclear disasters in any part of the world. This test is considered universally valid.

The mandatory test at the laboratory will ascertain the quantum of the exposure a person has suffered and also the possibility of their survival, they said.“During radioactive accidents, thousands of patients may be rushed to hospitals. The blood of such patients will have damaged components in proportion to the radiation received that this test assess,” A K Singh, Director General of Life Sciences at the DRDO, told PTI. “Biodosimetry labs employ a test called Dicentric Chromosomal test. Laborious work is needed for three to four days and only then one can report on the severity of the damage,” he added.

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