New Delhi:6/5/20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a detailed review of the current status of India’s efforts in vaccine development, drug discovery, diagnosis and testing related to COVID-19. An official statement said, over 30 Indian vaccines are in different stages of development with a few going on to the trial stages. In drug development, three approaches are being taken which include the repurposing of existing drugs.
Secondly, the development of new candidate drugs and molecules is being driven by linking high-performance computational approach with laboratory verification. Thirdly, plant extracts and products are being examined for general anti-viral properties. In diagnosis and testing, several academic research institutions and start-ups have developed new tests, both for the RT-PCR approach and for antibody detection.
During the meeting, Mr. Modi took note of the extraordinary coming together of academia, industry, and government, combined with the speedy but efficient regulatory process. He desired that such coordination and speed should be embedded into a standard operating procedure. He emphasized, what is possible in a crisis should be a part of routine way of scientific functioning. Appreciating the scientific coming together of computer science, chemistry and biotechnology in drug discovery, the Prime Minister suggested that a hackathon be held on this subject, linking computer science to synthesis and testing in the laboratory.
The successful candidates from the hackathon could be taken up by the start-ups for further development and scaling up. Mr. Modi added that the innovative and original manner in which Indian scientists have come together with industry is heartening. This kind of pride, originality and sense of purpose should dominate India’s approach going ahead.