The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has set up a national task force to aid in fight against COVID-19. The national task force has been divided into five research groups to identify research priorities and initiate research studies. The research groups include clinical research, research on diagnostics and biomarkers, epidemiology and surveillance, operation research, and vaccines/drug research and development.
ICMR had released a statement on Tuesday, which said members had already been nominated for each research group which was a part of the task force. It also said the Terms of Reference (ToR) for all groups had been decided.
The ToR for each research group is the same. They are:
- Identify research priorities
- Identify protocol lead and create a protocol development team
- Identify partners for implementation
The clinical research group will be led by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria and its immediate priority is to establish an India COVID-19 clinical research collaborative network. The diagnostics and biomarkers group is headed by Dr DA Gadkari, who is a former director of the National Institute of Virology in Pune. The priority for this group is to periodically advise on testing strategy.
Epidemiology and surveillance group will be looked over by Dr DCS Reddy, community medicine expert. Its priority is to decide on lockdown or partial lockdown. NK Arora, who heads a health research organization, will head the operations research group and Dr Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, will head the group on vaccines.
The number of active coronavirus cases in the country was 4,312 as of 6 PM on Tuesday. Three hundred and fifty-two people have been cured/discharged so far, while 124 people have died, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data says.