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COVID-19: Top Indian Labs to Start Clinical Research on the Virus

COVID-19 India: Top Labs to Start Clinical Research on the Virus

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COVID-19: Top Indian Labs to Start Clinical Research on the Virus
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In a meeting co-chaired by Dr Vinod Paul, NITI-Aayog member and Professor K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government on 21 March, top Indian research institutions and organisations have been permitted to conduct clinical testing and research on the COVID-19 disease and the novel coronavirus that causes it (SARS-Cov-2).

In order to better understand the virus and formulate solutions related to the disease, the first such meeting of the ‘Empowered Committee for COVID-19 Response’ aimed to bring together science agencies, scientists and regulatory bodies for speedy implementation of solutions related to COVID-19.

National research labs are to follow these directives:

  • They are permitted to carry out clinical testing for COVID-19 based on self-assessment and willingness to follow established protocols and regulations as defined by the DHR/ICMR.
  • The research labs can now access samples for COVID-19-related research from any government-approved clinical testing site or access clinical samples received by them for testing, subject to ethical approval for such research.
  • Results from such research are required to be speedily shared in open formats to maximise impact.
  • Labs with BSL-3 (Biosafety levels) or BSL-3+ facilities are permitted to culture the virus and serve as additional testing and validation sites for research.
  • Hospitals are required to cooperate with national labs for clinical sample collection where there is an ethical approval in place, depending on the capacity for such work and ability to follow established protocols.

Meanwhile, India continues to see an increase in its number of COVID-19 cases, even as ICMR and the government insist that the country is at Stage 2 of the disease (local transmission). On 20 March, the testing criterion expanded from just people who had traveled abroad (and were symptomatic), their symptomatic close contacts and healthcare workers who treated them to also include those with Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses like pneumonia.

The added that, “asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact.”

The ICMR re-iterated that India was not in the community transmission stage and that so far we had witnessed confirmed cases only with those who have travelled internationally and inl ocal transmission from imported cases to their immediate contacts.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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