• Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    The premier medical research institute in Sri Lanka
  • Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

    The premier medical research institute in Sri Lanka
  • Medical Research Institute - Sri Lanka

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The mission of the Department of Virology is to provide state-of-the-art services for the diagnosis, surveillance, training and research of human viral infections through out the country to achive the common mission of MRI.


The Virus Laboratory was established in 1951 under Dr. Stork. With the development of the section, a sub unit of the department was started at Colombo South Teaching Hospital in 1968 headed by Dr. Yvette Hermon. Dr. U.T. Vitarana succeeded her as the head of the department . Both departments came under one roof when the new Medical Research Institute was donated by the JICA in 1990. Dr. Nalini Withana was appointed as the head of the department at that time. Dr. Gaya Colombage succeeded her as the head. The present head is Dr. Geethani Wickramasinghe.



The Department of Virology includes six clinical laboratories namely Arbo, Entero, Hepatitis, Herpes, Respiratory and gastroenteritis viruses. Professional staff includes three consultant virologists, 2 Senior Registrars and 4 medical officers and post graduate trainees. The other staff includes 16 medical laboratory technologists and support staff. These staff members have extensive experience in clinical virology ranging from 5 to 30 years.  The enterovirus laboratory is the Regional Reference Laboratory for polioviruses. The Respiratory laboratory has been the National Influenza surveillance center from 1968.  The laboratory also functions as the national Japanese encephalitis, gastroenteritis and measles and rubella surveillance centers.
The Department of Virology serves as a reference and diagnostic laboratory for virological investigations for the whole country. It receives samples from all state hospitals & private sector.
The Department of Virology offers a wide range of tests including tests for viral culture, antigen detection, molecular detection and serology for the diagnosis of viral infections. The laboratory provides a comprehensive consultation service to assist clinicians in choosing the appropriate tests and interpreting the results. Diagnostic tests are offered for dengue, JE, hepatitis, Herpes simplex, enterovirus infections, influenza viruses, rubella, measles and other common viral infections.
There are many laboratory surveillance programmes carried out throughout the year. These are

  1. Acute Flaccid Paralysis (Polio) surveillance
  2. Influenza surveillance
  3. Dengue surveillance
  4. Japanese Encephalitis surveillance
  5. Rotavirus surveillance
  6. Rubella & Measles surveillance
  7. Hepatitis Antibody surveillance

The Clinical Virology Laboratory is strongly committed to the training of clinicians, post graduate students, MLT students, nurses, medical students and related staff. The Department takes part in post graduate courses of Microbiology, Virology, Transfusion medicine, Pathology, Venereology etc. During their training, they become acquainted with all of the procedures that are conducted in the Clinical Virology Laboratory.



The Clinical Virology Laboratory has a long record of clinical research in collaboration with clinicians and surgeons, and colleagues at other institutions.



For information on tests, results and other aspects of the Laboratory, please contact:
Department of Virology,Medical Research Institute,Dr. Danister de Silva mawatha,PO Box 527
Colombo 08, Sri Lanka
Phone: (+94) 11 269 3532-34, (+94) 11 269 7280 Fax: (+94) 11 269 1495
Common eMailvirology@mri.gov.lk
Flu lab: flu.virology@mri.gov.lk
Laboratory hours
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
Specimens are accepted 24 hours on all days including public holidays.

Links to the other pages are below.

CMV, BKV & Other Viruses

Currently emerging Threats



Herpes Simplex


Zika Virus infection

Sample collection