The Haffkine Institute (established in 1899) named after the scientist Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine who discovered the plague vaccine, is one of the oldest institutes of its kind in our country. The Institute has provided a centre-stage for biomedical research in Mumbai for most part of the last century. The first ever Phase-I clinical trial in India was perhaps conducted by the founder of the Institute in 1899 in this very Institute, when he injected himself with the plague vaccine he developed for evaluating its safety and efficacy. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Institute extended its scope against various other common infectious diseases – like Cholera, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis and Rabies. The Institute also developed and manufactured Anti-rabies serum and anti-snake-venom serum. Later on, it undertook the production of Oral Polio Vaccine.
Since then the Institute has emerged as a multi-disciplinary, full-fledged bio-medical research Institute engaged in various aspects of infectious diseases - Bacteriology, Bioavailability, Biochemistry, Chemotherapy, Clinical Pathology, Entomology, Human Pharmacology, Immunology, Parasitology, Pharmacology, Radiation Biology, Toxicology, Virology and Zoonosis. Nodal Laboratories for Re-emerging diseases have also been set up at the Institute.
The current research areas in the Haffkine Institute include studies of infections occurring in AIDS patients, surveillance and microbiological analysis of brucellosis, leptospira, prevalence of drug resistance in bacteria, and continuous development of newer chemotherapeutic agents to combat microbial and zoonotic infections. The Institute is also involved in the testing of various bio-molecules against HIV. The bio-molecules range from disinfectants and detergents to specialized/ purified extracts, herbal medicines and plant products. It also is involved in the identification of influenza strains using hemagglutination and hemagglutination inhibition assays.
In terms of infrastructure, the Institute is furnished with most of the state-of-art equipment. Research work is carried out using instruments like thermal cycler, HPLC/GC, Real-Time PCR, Immunofluorescence microscope, etc. the Institute has a well-established cell-culture facility for the isolation and cultivation of different viruses. Haffkine Institute has a Centralized Instrumentation Department wherein centrifuges ranging from a fixed angle to an ultra-centrifuge are established. Also available are cyropreservation machinery, CO2 incubators, laminar workstations, etc. Inverted microscope with photographic attachments, a flow cytometer, and various sterilizers are present with the Institute.
The Institute has a big laboratory animal house and laboratory animal breeding facility. The Institute is situated in the midst of four specialized public teaching hospitals; specialized clinical research expertise is therefore readily available. The Institute also has a well-equipped library housing the valuable archives of medical literature.
The Haffkine Institute has been a centre for Scientific & Industrial research since its inception in 1896. What had initially started as a bacteriology research centre, now offers services in various quarters of basic & applied bio-medical sciences.
Presently various departments are conducting investigative studies in the following domains:
- Development of Anti-virals from Natural & Synthetic sources
- Pathology & Pathophysiology of Viral Diseases
- Immunological Mechanisms of Viral Diseases
- Prevalence & Epidemiology of Viral Diseases
- Vaccines and Adjuvants
- Assessment of Insecticidal, Larvicidal activities in Natural & Synthetic molecules
- Anti-Malarial activities in Natural & Synthetic molecules
- Establishment of Animal Models for Zoonotic Diseases
- Prevalence & Epidemiology of Zoonotic Diseases
- Development of Bio-pesticides
- Development of Anti-Rodent and Snake Repellants
- Department of Biochemistry
- Anti-oxidant studies in Phytochemicals
- Anti-diabetic activity of Natural & Synthetic molecules
- PK/PD studies in Animal Models
- Department of Bacteriology
- Development of Anti-Bacterials from Natural & Synthetic sources
- Department of Clinical Pathology
- Prevalence & Epidemiology of Bacterial Diseases
- Development of Anti-Tuberculosis agents from Phytochemicals
- Department of Chemotherapy
- Synthesis of Anti-Microbial Organic Compounds