The Division of Bacteriology has multifarious functions that include isolation and identification of enteric bacteria from stool specimens collected from the hospital/community through systematic surveillance, vaccine trial studies, confirmation and serotyping of enteric bacteria such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus, toxigenic V. cholerae, diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli, Shigella sent by other institutions, and outbreak investigations to detect the possible etiological agents. The basic research components include molecular typing of bacterial strains, detection of virulence genes, antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, detection of resistance mechanisms and novel toxins. Several new molecular/immunological based detection techniques have also been developed and evaluated at the NICED. The recently emerged hybrid El Tor variant strains of V. cholerae has been characterized and tracking of its spread in different states of India has also been made.
Antisera against V. cholerae O1 and O139 were produced and being supplied to different Institutions for research purpose. Helicobacter pylori strains collected from duodenal ulcer patients and asymptomatic individuals were also extensively characterized at molecular level. This Division has large collection of well characterized bacterial strains and standard strains. Some of the ongoing research activities are supported by the ICMR. In addition, multicentric projects are funded by the International Vaccine Institute, Korea; Melinda and Gates Research Foundation, USA; Ministry Health, Labour and Family Welfare, Japan; and Okayama University, Japan. Works related with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis for molecular typing of V. cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus are part of the PulseNet Asia-Pacific research activity. Several training programmes on conventional microbiology and molecular typing were organized at the national and international levels with the support from the WHO/Japan International Cooperation Agency.