The government has launched a nationwide research and development (R&D) initiatve to combat coronavirus, which neither has a medicine nor a vaccine.
The Department of Science and Technology - Science and Engineering Board (DST-SERB) has announced several special research projects. The first set of 5 projects have been selected for further development into implementable technologies.
These projects were selected after peer-review and assessment by a Special Expert Committee for CoVID-19 projects.
The first project will help in search of potential metabolite biomarker signature for coronavirus and recognition of novel targets for therapy. Biomarkers or biological markers capture activity of a cell or an organism at a given moment and help identifying potential drugs or vaccines.
The second project will help develop viricidal coatings for inanimate surfaces used in healthcare settings such as surgical masks for the prevention of infectious diseases caused by highly contagious pathogens such as coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
The third project concerns development of antiviral surface coatings to prevent the spread of infections caused by influenza virus. The objective is to develop small molecular and polymeric compounds which will be coated on various surfaces and kill respiratory viruses completely upon contact.
The fourth project is to develop material which may be applied to mops to disinfect the surfaces and remove any adhering viruses or bacteria. The fifth project relates to development of antibody-based capture of 2019-nCoV and its inactivation using lipid-based in situ gel. This is the first such coordinated research initiative from India, and initiated by the government.
It is estimated that over 24,000 research papers have already appeared across the world in the last four months. They have mostly been published on research journals and medicine research websites.
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