he DRDO has established a COVID-19 testing facility at the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) in Leh to augment the existing capacity for identification of coronavirus cases in the union territory of Ladakh.
Testing Facility at DIHAR
The testing facility will also help in keeping close watch of the infected persons. The facility meets the safety standards and guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The testing facility at DIHAR is capable of screening 50 samples per day. The facility can also be utilized for training manpower for COVID testing and will be of great help to address future bio-threats and carrying out R&D activities pertinent to agro-animals diseases.
The DIHAR is one of the life sciences laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) working on cold arid agro-animal technologies. The laboratory is screening and identifying the medicinal and aromatic plants to exploit them for use for defence purposes and also on greenhouse technologies for high altitude and cold desert areas.
Field Research Laboratory (FRL) was established in 1962 at Leh–Ladakh was the brainchild of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The aim was to make the hostile terrain of the cold, arid desert of Ladakh reasonably green and make fresh food available to the troops deployed in the Ladakh sector. The Institute through its pioneering R&D efforts over the years has brought about perceptible qualitative and quantitative changes in agriculture, animal husbandry and the flora of Ladakh.
With time, the vision, mission and mandate of the laboratory have changed. Field Research Laboratory (FRL) has been renamed as DIHAR and it is one of its kinds in the world at an altitude of 3,500 m above MSL. The institute has its research stations at Ranbirpura, Ladakh; Partapur, Siachen Sector; Base Laboratory in Chandigarh and the world’s highest terrestrial R&D Centre at Changla, Ladakh.