COVID-19: Health Minister calls upon all scientific departments to develop enhanced synergy

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the minister for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare reviewed through video-conferencing the various initiatives CSIR has taken up to mitigate COVID-19 in the country.

CSIR has devised five verticals: digital and molecular surveillance; rapid and economical diagnostics; new drugs/repurposing of drugs/vaccines; hospital assistive devices and PPE; supply chain and logistics support systems in order to develop requisite S&T-based solutions to combat COVID-19. Significant developments in each of the five verticals were presented by the vertical coordinating directors.

Dr Vardhan during video conferencing also said, “that all CSIR labs are rising to the occasion and have supported people by supplying sanitisers, masks, ready-to-eat food, apart from developing S&T-based solutions.”

He conveyed to 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.”

“I am happy to see the enthusiasm of CSIR scientists and that CSIR has made good progress since the last review,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.

“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. The joint NCDC-CSIR programme will accelerate molecular epidemiology and viral surveillance efforts of India,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan further added.

A drug which has recently been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for emergency use in COVID-19 patients is also a major development from the CSIR efforts.

The guidelines were also released by the minsiter for public transport and feeder modes considering social distancing norms developed by CSIR-CRRI (Central Road Research Institute).

Dr Vardhan said, “Post COVID-19, a new normal will develop in the society, setting new standards to live in a better way, in a scientific way which will eventually become good health norms.”

DG CSIR, Dr Shekhar C Mande; Director CSIR-IGIB, Dr Anurag Agarwal; Director CRRI, Dr Satish Chandra; Director CSIR-IIIM, Dr Ram Vishwakarma; Director CSIR-IIP (Indian Institute of Petroleum), Dr Anjan Ray; and Director NAL, Jitendra Yadhav, besides directors of other CSIR labs across the country were present at the video-conference.

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