The Indian Council of Medical Research has set up a national task force to conduct research on COVID-19 and formulate protocols to manage it and ensure their implementation
The task force is divided into five groups. Each handles a specific line of tasks and is headed by a senior medical expert. Its members are medical experts in various fields.
Group members will video-conference to identify, research priorities, develop research protocols and identify partner institutes to initiate studies.
The five groups are in the areas of,
1. Clinical Research
2. Research on Diagnostics and bio-markers
3. Epidemiology and surveillance
4. Operations Research
5. Vaccines/Drug Research and Development
AIIMS, Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria heads the 10-member Clinical Research Group. Its immediate priority is to establish a clinical research collaborative network.
The group on Diagnostics and Biomarkers with 11 members is headed by Dr DA Gadkari, former director of the National Institute of Virology, Pune. The immediate mandate for the second groups is to periodically advise on testing strategy.
The group on Epidemiology and Surveillance is tasked with deciding the contours of the lockdown and the partial lockdown. It has 12 members and is headed by Dr D C S Reddy, one of the most renowned community medicine expert.
Health Research Organisation head N K Arora will head the 14-member Operations Research group while Dr Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute will head the last group of the task force, the group on Vaccines/Drug Research and Development.
So far till Wednesday, more than 5000 people have been tested positive in India with reported deaths crossing 150. One of the causes for concern is that 35 cases of deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours alone.
For the authorities working across the Centre and the States on a war footing to limit the spread of COVID-19, the formation of the ICMR task force is aimed at boosting the multitude of measures taken by the authorities.