File image of union health minister Harsh Vardhan. Image credit: The Hindu
File image of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.

Union health Harsh Vardhan on Monday reviewed the various initiatives CSIR has taken up in mitigation of COVID-19 in the country through video-conferencing

CSIR DG Shekhar C Mande apprised the minister that CSIR has mounted a coordinated strategy involving all 38 CSIR labs and working in close coordination with industry and other agencies for implementation of the interventions and technologies at the ground level.

In order to develop requisite S&T based solutions to combat COVID-19, the CSIR has devised five verticals.

These are

  • Digital and Molecular Surveillance
  • Rapid and Economical Diagnostics
  • New Drugs / Repurposing of Drugs /Vaccines
  • Hospital Assistive Devices and PPEs
  • Supply Chain and Logistics Support Systems

Significant developments in each of the five verticals were presented by the Vertical Coordinating Directors.

During the interaction, the health minister also acknowledged that all CSIR labs are rising to the occasion and have supported people by supplying sanitizers, masks, ready to eat food apart from developing S&T based solutions.

He exhorted the scientific departments, “to develop enhanced synergy and good quality coordination for quicker and better results.

“All Scientists and institutions should prioritise the requirements of the time and also contribute in finding quick and deployable solutions,” he said.

“I am happy to see the enthusiasm of CSIR scientists and that CSIR has made good progress since the last review”, he added.

He said affordability factor of various drugs, vaccines and other diagnostic & therapeutic equipment should also be considered.

He also appreciated CSIR for submitting 53 sequences of COVID-19 genomes to the Global Coronavirus Genome Database, Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).

“This is the result of a strong partnership between National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi and CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), representing the largest submission of sequences, by far from India by any group,” he said.

“The joint NCDC-CSIR program will accelerate molecular epidemiology and viral surveillance efforts of India,” he added.

The minister further noted that Indian regulators are working to speed up regulatory process and CSIR supported clinical trials of Mw based Sepsivac by Industry has received approval for three clinical trials on Covid-19 affected patients and may offer relief to them.

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