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Defence, atomic labs to study Covid-19

The government has roped in defence and atomic research labs as well as biotechnology, science and technology research institutions to accentuate the national effort to find a solution to deal with the Covid-19 virus outbreak. All these institutions have been tasked to source clinical samples from any government approved clinical testing sites and conduct research on the deleterious virus. It is compulsory for these labs to follow established protocols and regulations defined by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

The empowered committee for Covid-19 response led by Dr Vinod Paul, member of Niti Aayog, and K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, took this decision. “Results from such research are required to be expeditiously shared in open formats to maximise impact of research. Clinical care agencies are directed to enrich the open dataset by providing deidentified clinical data,” wrote VijayRaghavan in the advisory to agencies, including the country’s drug controller.

National Institute of Virology (situated in Pune) has already sequenced the genome of the virus – India being the fifth country to do so – which is essential to do research on finding tests, drugs and vaccines. Similarly, laboratories of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science and Technology including others with BSL-3 (biosafety levels) and BSL-3+ facilities have also been permitted to culture the virus and serve as additional testing and validation sites for research.