Govt steps up efforts for COVID-19 management and solutions

Vishal Dahiya
File Photo of a Hospital in India (PTI Photo)

File Photo of a Hospital in India (PTI Photo)

Several Government departments are working with private players to find better scientific solutions to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ICMR, the efforts focus on sampling and testing strategy and research work and the progress is being closely monitored and reviewed.

So far 129 government laboratories are functioning with a testing capacity of 13000 tests per day along with 49 NABL accredited private labs.

The private labs together have around 16000 collection centres. As of now while a total of 38,442 tests have been done, private labs account for 1,334 of them across the country. The Government has also placed an order for Rapid Antibody test kits.

Over the last one week, the Department of Science and Technology received 200 proposals for funds from private entities in diagnostics, drugs, ventilators, protection gear, disinfecting systems, etc. Over 20 of these proposals are under consideration for support in the first phase.

The Department of Biotechnology has also formed a Consortium to support the development of medical equipment, diagnostics, therapeutics, drugs and vaccines to meet healthcare challenges.

A manufacturing facility for indigenous development of ventilators, testing kits, imaging equipment and ultrasound and high-end radiology equipment has also been set up in Vishakhapatnam where manufacturing will start in the first week of April.

Three Indian industries are engaged in research on therapeutic and drug development and vaccine development.

DBT along with Drug Controller General of India has developed and notified a Rapid Response Regulatory Framework to provide expedited regulatory approvals for all diagnostics drugs and vaccines, while the CSIR is working on a five-pronged strategy to find S&T solutions for COVID-19 in collaboration with the private sector.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, has asked all government agencies to procure requisite testing kits and reagents urgently and supply them to the laboratories across the country.

He said that all efforts are being made to ensure that the quality of the testing kits procured by the Government or by the private labs is not compromised.