Although Foot-and-Mouth Disease has been known to be widely prevalent in India even during early years of 19th century, work on the disease could not be initiated at the Imperial Bacteriological Laboratory (Indian Veterinary Research Institute), Mukteswar, in earlier years owing to paucity of infrastructure and scientific manpower etc. Thus, during the deliberations at Eleventh International Veterinary Congress in 1930 it was observed that sufficient scientific staff will become available in the near future to undertake research on FMD in India.Until 1942 FMD and the virus serotypes responsible for the disease outbreaks in the country did not receive required attention. In May 1943, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) sponsored an ad-hoc scheme entitled “Vaccination of Indian cattle aganist Foot-and-mouth Disease” at IVRI, Mukteswar to initiate research on the disease and to evolve suitable vaccine for protecting Indian cattle against it. Serotyping of filed strains by guinea pig cross-protection test was initiated during 1943 and the virus serotype Asia 1 in India was confirmed on material obtained from an outbreak in 1956-57. With progress in research work, virus serotype identification in filed materials by cross-immunity test in guinea pigs found a replacement in complement fixation test (CFT) in 1964-65. In order to strengthen the research activity on FMD, an integrated “All India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP) for FMD virus serotyping” was initiated in 1968 by ICAR with central FMD laboratory at Mukteswar and three Regional Centres located at Hisar, Hyderabad and Calcutta. Subsequently the scope of this project was expanded in July, 1971 to All India Co-ordinated Research Project for Epidemiological studies on Foot-and-Mouth Disease with increased outlay and inputs in terms of laboratory space, experimental animal shed facility, scientific manpower, additional Regional Centres and Epidemiological Units for extensive FMD surveillance throughout the country. During the year 2001 AICRP on FMD has been upgraded to the status of Project Directorate on Foot and Mouth Disease with headquarter at Mukteswar and a network of 23 laboratories located all over the country. The institute is a member of the Global FAO/OIE Network of FMD Reference Laboratories that constitutes of ten other FMD laboratories in the world. The institute also functions as the FAO Reference Center for FMD in South Asia and SAARC Leading Diagnostic Laboratory for FMD. The institute is also a member of Global FMD Research Alliance.


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