Asunción / IICS

 

Asunción / IICS

The Site

The Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud is an autonomous Specialiazed Academic Unit with 29 years of continuos work, and it depends of the Dirección General de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica from the National University of Asunción. Its mission is to generate, carry out and promote scientific research in the health sciences area, with the contribution of knowledge and solutions to relevant problems of the country, with the qualification of human resources and the development of specialized services that contributes to improve the health of the community. The institute has 169 employers and works in the area of prevention and control of diseases, with 93 specialized professionals working in Research, Services (by providing different types of specialized laboratory diagnosis to patients of low income), and Academics. It has equipped laboratories in the areas of clinical analysis, microbiology, parasitology, genetics, molecular biology, pathology, virology, immunology, and biochemistry-production of kits for in vitro detection. These laboratories are organized in ten different departments. In the year 2007, the institute has started the Master course in Biomedical Sciences, the first one in Paraguay in areas of: bacteriology, parasitology, and immunology. This program was established due to the lack of this specialization in our country, and in order to provide to our students with an opportunity to study here and not to migrate permanently abroad.  A new IICS building of 5,700 square meters is constructed in the University Campus, and it will be finished by the end of 2012. More information about the IICS and laboratories you can find in the web site: www.iics.una.py

Equipment

 

Research

The Molecular Biology laboratory was created in 1990 thanks to the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Since the creation, this department has promoted the intellectual and originality growth of young scientists in basic and applied sciences. Furthermore, many undergraduate students have been initiated into scientific researches by using advanced technologies. In 1992, the first papers in Chagas disease were published using the PCR technique. Since 1998, Molecular Virology area was introduced (Hantavirus, Syncitial respiratory virus, Adenovirus, Rotavirus and Dengue virus), including virus detection, molecular characterization and viral isolation by cell culture. Subsequently, other areas were incorporated: i) leishmaniasis, detection en molecular characterization, ii) studies on Mycobacterium tuberculosis that includes diagnosis, molecular epidemiology, resistance and identification of atypical mycobacterias and ii) bioinformatics applied to the studies of nucleic acid and protein sequence analyses of infectious agents with emphasis on virology. In 2007, we started the molecular bacteriology area for the characterization of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. In 2010 it was incorporated an automatized innovative service in Paraguay for cattle genotyping using microsatellites (STR- typing in cattle).
One of our main goals was to strengthen the local research capacities in order to support the Public Health services installing new diagnostic techniques (PCR and its variations, Real Time PCR, hybridization with non-radioactive probes, RFLP, SSCP, recombinant protein production, STR in cows, etc). The support to the Public Health Programs with advanced technologies allowed us to demonstrate the significance of the University for solving health problems in the country: i) Early diagnosis of congenital Chagas disease in rural endemic areas with the introduction of the ELISA-SAPA (SAPA recombinant antigen) and the PCR to follow-up treatment; ii) health surveillance: we introduced the identification of Dengue virus by multiplex-PCR in the outbreaks from 2000 to 2003 and then transferred the technique to de Ministry of Health; we are still involved in the genotyping characterization of circulating rotavirus since the year 1998 and in the identification of leishmania species in biopsy samples from infected patients supporting the diagnosis and the prognosis of the disease since 2002. The quality of our research is reflected in indexed journal publications.