The Health Ministry plans to use 'Molecular Technology' to cut down on dengue deaths. The Ministry expects to cut down the current dengue death rate of 0.3 to 0.1 by 2016, a Health Ministry spokesman said.z_p04-siri.jpg

"The technology introduced under the direction of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena assists health professionals to quickly and easily identify the mutations taking place in dengue viruses. At present, private hospitals in Sri Lanka do not offer Molecular Technology. The technology is available only in the state sector," the spokesman said. According to the spokesman, the technology will be used under a five year project funded by the European Union on a request by Health Minister Sirisena.

The laboratory which was ceremonially opened at the Medical Research Institute (MRI) will test 3,000 blood samples per year and one blood sample will be subjected to five different tests. The EU has provided Rs. 40 million for the project which is to be handed over to Sri Lanka after five years.

"Molecular Technology helps identify the changes of all four types of dengue viruses and it is possible to detect these changes even after the virus enters the human body. This would enable doctors to offer better medical treatment for dengue patients (depending on the latest changes of the dengue virus inside their bodies). It will help cut down on the number of dengue deaths, the spokesman said.

The data collected during testing will be made available for all dengue affected countries through an international data base at MRI. The data can be used as an early warning system when changes in the same virus are detected, he said.

"Molecular technology is capable of testing the chromosome of dengue viruses. The antigen, antibodies etc of the dengue viruses will also be tested using the technology. The treatment methodology will be changed according to the changes detected in all four types of dengue viruses because the severity of dengue fever depends on the changes of the virus," he added.