New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday (May 5) reviewed the current status of India’s efforts in vaccine development, drug discovery, diagnosis, and testing of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The PM took note of the extraordinary coming together of academia, industry, and government, combined with the speedy but efficient regulatory process, said an official statement.
PM Modi desired that such coordination and speed should be embedded into a standard operating procedure while emphasizing that what is possible in a crisis should be a part of our routine way of scientific functioning, the statement said.
The Prime Minister appreciated the scientific coming together of computer science, chemistry, and biotechnology in drug discovery, and 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," he said, adding that the innovative and original manner in which Indian scientists, from basic to applied sciences, have come together with industry is heartening.
"This kind of pride, originality, and sense of purpose should dominate our approach going ahead. It is only then that we can be amongst the best in the world and not followers, in science," Modi added.
Over 30 Indian vaccines are in different stages of corona vaccine development, with a few going on to the trial stages.
In drug development, three approaches are being taken. First, the repurposing of existing drugs. At least four drugs are undergoing synthesis and examination in this category.
Secondly, the development of new candidate drugs and molecules is being driven by linking high performance computational approached 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.