‘30 groups in India trying to develop coronavirus vaccines’

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have embarked on a drug discovery hackathon to fight against COVID-19, said Prof K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to Government of India, on Thursday. Prof Raghvan, who was addressing a press conference here, said that the hackathon is a high-end hackathon where students are trained with information on how to do computational drug discovery.

Prof Raghvan said that India’s vaccine manufacturing is world-class. “India is also one of the world’s biggest generics manufacturers. Our vaccine companies are now also into vaccine development and R&D, not just manufacturing.” “There are about 30 groups in India including big industry, startups and academics, who are working on Covid-19 vaccine development.

About 20 of them are keeping a good pace,” he said. Prof Raghvan said that as vaccine development is a very risky process, many firms will stockpile vaccines even before they are ready in the hope that this will be effective. “In this scenario, global consortia help mitigate risk and ensure equity of access,” he added. “When a vaccine is made, it is not like a switch which will be available for everyone from Day 1. Everyone would need this.

Logistics of making Covid-19 vaccine accessible to everyone is a big challenge, this is being discussed now,” he added. Prof Raghvan said that as we are waiting for drugs and vaccines to fight against Covid-19, we need to do five things to win over Covid-19 — hygiene, decontamination of surfaces, physical distancing, tracking, and testing. “These are in our hands, as we wait for drugs and vaccines,” he added. Dr V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog and Chairman, Empowered Group 1, said the fight against coronavirus will be won through vaccine and drugs as India’s science and technology institutions and pharma industry are very strong.

“The fight against coronavirus will be won through vaccine and drugs. Our country’s science and technology institutions and pharma industry are very strong. India’s pharma industry is known as the pharmacy of the world and vaccines made in India are being used and are known all over the world,” said Dr Paul, who was also addressing a press conference here. Dr Paul, while highlighting India’s efforts on the development of drugs, vaccines and technologies for testing, said: “We are very proud of our strong scientific base, strong pharmaceutical industry. All our scientific institutes are fighting against Covid-19.”

The Central government has formed the Empowered Group 1 for coordinating medical emergency management plan in view of the coronavirus pandemic. With 6,566 more coronavirus cases and 194 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 count reached 1,58,333 on Thursday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The number of active coronavirus cases stands at 86,110, while 67,692 people have recovered and one patient has migrated. The death toll due to the infection has reached 4,531 in the country. With agency inputs

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