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IITs spearhead India’s Covid-19 battle

18 IITs who are part of 208 dedicated R&D projects under seven different categories are the front runners of India’s scientific effort to contain and eliminate the threat of the novel corona virus. These include research in the field of personal protective care equipment; followed by sanitisation and treatment, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological (30); testing kits, medical equipment/ robots, surveillance and data analytics, AI to model epidemic patterns and disease dynamics.

Around 50% of the key research in India’s premier technical schools are happening in six of the old IITs. IIT-Madras and IIT-Guwahati are researching in all 7 areas; while IIT-Mandi has three research projects, IIT-Palakkad is researching in 10 key areas and IIT-Goa in one. IIT-Delhi has developed the ICMR approved detection assay using label-free technology, which would make a Covid-19 test cost just about a few hundred rupees.

T G Sitharam, director, IIT-Guwahati, stated, “Various projects are already in production stages, like the commercialised ones which include full PPE suits, UV-LED disinfectant, drone technology for disinfection of large areas which is not in use in a few states. Then there is full face protective shield which is being manufactured and being delivered on daily.” He also added that a diagnosis and vaccine development research has also been signed with a company for commercialisation.