NITM to take up multi-dimensional research on COVID-19

ICMR NITM scientists at an event to sign MoU with BIMS and KIMS in Belagavi.  

Belagavi-based ICMR National Institute of Traditional Medicine (NITM) will take up multi-dimensional research on COVID-19 in association with two government medical colleges of North Karnataka.

On Tuesday, ICMR officers signed memoranda of understanding with Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences and Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences.

NITM Director Debprasad Chattopadhyaya said that the MoUs were signed to undertake collaborative activities such as training programmes for scientists and clinicians for skill development and competence building to benefit public health at large, allowing ICMR researchers to work in BIMS and KIMS for clinical research and those from BIMS and KIMS to work at ICMR-NITM for laboratory research.

They will take up joint research activities in the areas of common interest, host students for dissertations, postgraduate courses in collaboration, organise conference, symposia and seminars, develop joint research proposals, patents and publications in collaboration and soliciting joint proposals for funding, exchange scientific information, data and documentation, apart from providing treatment to ICMR-NITM staff and their family members, if needed.

“We are working on developing herbal solutions for COVID-19, based on Traditional Medicine leads. In the process, phytochemicals (1952 compounds) from eight potential traditional medicinal plants have been evaluated in-silico that are published in Frontiers in Medicine, a prestigious journal. The leads obtained are being subjected to subsequent experimental validation,’’ Dr. Chattopadhyaya told The Hindu.

“The bioinformatic and in-vitro studies have been carried out. In the next stage, animal studies and use of non-infectious virus studies will be taken up. Three plant formulations called NITM 41, 42 and 43 have been created to see if they cause interaction between viral proteins and hosts. NITM scientists have been working on the COVID-19 genetic character. The whole genome of two SARS-CoV 2 isolates was sequenced to identify potential pathogenic mutations (D614G). This paper was published in Microbial Resource Announcements, a prestigious journal published by the American Society of Microbiology,’’ Dr. Chattopadhyaya said.

“One of the youngest laboratories of the ICMR family, NITM is working with documentation and validation, standardisation of Traditional Medicine. It is finding herbal cures for various diseases and conditions. It is conducting detailed studies about Siddhi and other tribal communities,’’ the director said.

Mr. Biswas said that NITM was working closely with the Health and Family Welfare Department and Belagavi district administration in COVID-19 management. It set up a COVID-19 laboratory to conduct RT-PCR tests last year. Till now, it has processed over two lakh swab samples. He said that efforts are being made to set up a bio safety level – 3 laboratory in BIMS to help such collaborative research.

BIMS Director Umesh Kulkarni, KIMS Director Ramalingappa Antartani, Harsha Hegde and other scientists were present during the signing ceremony.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 7:47:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/nitm-to-take-up-multi-dimensional-research-on-covid-19/article35201641.ece

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