CSIR forms five verticals to combat COVID-19

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has galvanised all its labs into action to battle COVID-19 in the last few weeks, with the Director-General Shekhar C. Mande, forming five verticals to coordinate various research activities into drugs, vaccine, testing, sanitisers, hospital equipment and the likes.

The digital and molecular surveillance is led by its directors Dr. Anurag Agarwal of Institute of Genomics & Integrated Biology (IGIB), rapid and economical diagnosis by Dr. Rakesh Mishra of Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), development of new drugs/re-purposing of drugs by Dr. S Chandrashekhar of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), hospital assistive devices by Dr. Jitendra J. Jadhav of National Aerospace Laboratories, personnel protective equipment and supply chain & logistics by Dr. Anjan Ray of Indian Institute of Petroleum.

A CSIR Strategic Group (CSG) has also been constituted with a video ‘zoom’ meeting organised every day and presided over by the DG to review the progress made by these verticals. Any lab or scientist willing to contribute to any of the five verticals can write to the lead directors mentioned above. The Director of Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Dr. Ram A. Vishwakarma, has been made the overall coordinator.

Sequencing of coronovirus is being done at IGIB and CCMB including that of the host and virus RNA. Incidentally, the former has developed a paper-based diagnostic test while CCMB is setting up viral cultures for testing of drugs and making a vaccine, said informed scientific sources, privy to the meeting of top heads.

CSIR DG has mentioned the contribution of Dr. Debojyoti Chakraborti IGIB, for developing crispr/case-based paper diagnostics, Dr. Anthony Adlagatta of IICT for producing reverse transcriptase in large quantities, CCMB scientists for developing cell line and virus culture, sanitisers by IICT, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Central Electro Chemical Research Institute CECRI), North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST), etc., food packets by Central Food Technological Research Insitute (CFTRI), and Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT).

Open invitation

Dr. Mande informed during the interaction that a platform for open innovation will be developed and hosted at the CSIR headquarters and a partnership has already been formed with the Ministry of Ayush for development of four botanicals/drugs.

CSIR labs are already working with private sector giants like Reliance for PPEs, diagnostics; Tatas for hospital assistive devices; Intel & TCS for digital surveillance; CIpla for repurposed drugs; Cadila for coronavirus therapy; Bharat Biotech for inactivated vaccine development; BHEL for electrostatic spray and ventilator; BEL for thermometer and Oxygen enrichment unit, etc,

Three of its institutes CCMB, IGIB and IIIM have been allowed to take up Covid-19 testing and other eight other CSIR labs too are ready to take it up once regulatory approvals come, said informed scientific sources.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:37:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/csir-forms-five-verticals-to-combat-covid-19/article31273298.ece

Next Story