Visual from the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Visual from the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

PM Modi chairs meeting of task force on coronavirus vaccine, drug discovery; over 30 vaccines in different stages of development

ANI | Updated: May 05, 2020 22:21 IST

New Delhi [India], May 5 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the task force on coronavirus vaccine development, drug discovery, diagnosis and testing and took a detailed review of the current status of India's efforts in these areas.
The review by the Prime Minister took note of the extraordinary coming together of academia, industry and government, combined with speedy but efficient regulatory process.
According to an official release, the Prime Minister desired that such coordination and speed should be embedded into a standard operating procedure.
It said over 30 Indian vaccines are in different stages of corona vaccine development with a few going on to the trial stages.
The Prime Minister emphasized that what is possible in a crisis "should be a part of our routine way of scientific functioning".
"The Prime Minister took a detailed review of the current status of India's efforts in vaccine development, drug discovery, diagnosis and testing," the release said.
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.
He said 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," he said.
Noting that Indian vaccine companies are well known for their quality, manufacturing capacity and global presence, the release said they have also come across as innovators in early stage vaccine development research. Indian academia and start-ups have also pioneered in this area.
"Similarly, 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 are being driven by linking high performance computational approached with laboratory verification. Thirdly, plant extracts and products are being examined for general anti-viral properties," the release said.
In diagnosis and testing, several academic research institutions and start-ups have developed new tests, both for the RT-PCR approach and for the antibody detection.
In addition, by linking laboratories all over the country, capacity for both these kinds of tests have been enormously scaled up.
"The problem of importing reagents for testing has been addressed by consortia of Indian start-ups and industry, meeting current requirements. The current thrust also holds promise for the development of a robust long-term industry in this area," the release said. (ANI)