DELHI: An important meeting of the special task force created to fight against the contagious COVID-19 headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held on Tuesday. India’s progress in vaccine development, drug discovery, diagnosis and testing, were the core issues discussed in the meeting.

A statement made by the Centre after the meeting said that more than 30 vaccines for coronavirus are in different stages of development. A few of them are at the trial stage.

As far as drug development is concerned, three approaches are being considered. These include:

  • Repurposing of existing drugs
  • Development of new drugs
  • Exploration of anti-viral properties of plant extracts and products

The government further informed that new tests both for RT-PCR approach and for antibody detection have been developed by several research institutions and start-ups in the country. Also the capacity for both kinds of tests has received a boost by the linking of laboratories all over the country.

Impressed by the collaboration of computer science, chemistry and biotechnology in drug discovery, PM Modi suggested that a hackathon be held linking computer science to synthesis and testing in the laboratory. He further added that the successful candidates could be taken up by the start-ups for further development and scaling up.

Applauding the researchers from different fields, PM Modi said, “The innovative and original manner in which Indian scientists — from basic to applied sciences — have come together with industry is heartening.”

“This kind of pride, originality and sense of purpose should dominate our approach going ahead. It is only then that we can be among the best in the world and not followers, in science,” he added.