Kerala

KSBB to develop ‘concept bank’ to tackle pandemics

When you are faced with a pandemic, sometimes the answers could be closer to home than you think.

Working on this premise, the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is developing a ‘concept bank’ with biodiversity-linked research and inputs that could prove valuable in handling COVID 19-like scenarios.

The KSBB has invited experts and institutions to chip in with ideas and concept notes on field problems on which “research and immediately implementable projects or action plans” can be crafted. The central theme being how sustainable management of bioresources/biodiversity can benefit health care.

“We are looking at relevant ways to prevent pandemics such as COVID-19, to build up our immunity or to develop health consciousness. There are studies that have been done but have not been implemented or taken onto the field. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We think that a concept bank is important so that we will be ready in future,” says KSBB chairman S.C. Joshi.

WHO estimation

In its note on the concept bank, the KSBB draws attention to a World Health Organization (WHO) estimation that about 60% of emerging infectious diseases are those transmitted between animals and human beings.

Urbanisation and the consequent shrinkage of habitats and migration of wild animals to human habitations have been cited as major reasons for this, the KSBB says. On a related front, the KSBB is also studying the possibility of utilising the vast trove of traditional knowledge in Kerala for tackling COVID-19-like situations.

While ethnobotany studies have been conducted on a large scale, much of the results are gathering dust on the shelves. Out of all such studies, especially those on tribal knowhow, only a small percentage has undergone lab tests.

The board intends to see whether the most promising ones can be selected for further validation, Dr. Joshi says.

The KSBB also hopes to use constructive ideas submitted for the concept bank for building a strategy and action plan for biodiversity conservation in the State over the next decade.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 3:05:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ksbb-to-develop-concept-bank-to-tackle-pandemics/article31505430.ece

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