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Istituto Superiore Di Sanità-ISS
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Type of institution
The Istituto Superiore di Sanità was established in 1934 and it is the leading technical and scientific body of the Italian National Health Service. Its activities include research, clinical trials, control and training in public health; it also serves as a major national clearing-house for technical and scientific information on public health issues.
ISS is involved in collaboration and consultation with other institutions responsible for public health, including the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, local health agencies and hospitals. It cooperates with those responsible for the design and implementation of health and scientific programmes at local and national level and also plays a leading role in several major international research projects.
Main research areas
The Institute conducts scientific research in a wide variety of fields, from cutting-edge molecular and genetic research to population-based studies of risk factors for disease and disability. Research priorities are based on those set forth in the National Health Plan. The Institute is also involved in several major clinical trials, which are frequently conducted in cooperation with the Scientific Institutes for Research and Care (IRCCS) network and Hospitals. An important activity of the Institute, which is mandated by the Minister of Health or the Regions, is certification of the chemical and biological purity of drugs and vaccines, as well as inspection and quality control of medical and diagnostic devices and equipment, food products and packaging. It monitors trends in disease, mortality and other health factors and provides technical support for health-related environmental surveys and for investigations of epidemics and other public health problems at national, regional and local level. It also supervises the laboratories engaged in the testing of prohibited substances in sport and the national veterinary institutes. Finally, it has an important role in monitoring and coordinating blood transfusion services and plasma production in Italy.