The Centre has said that one lakh Genome and DNA sequencing has been done for Covid-19 so far by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and five Covid biorepositories with 57,000 samples have been made available for the academia and industry for R&D and product development.
“A Vaccine Testing and Research Facility will come up at the second campus of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) and this centre will also have a BSL 3 facility, which is capable of handling airborne viruses like Covid-19. This facility will be the first of its kind in South India,” Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Jitendra Singh has said on Friday.
He added that RGCB will be developed as a hub for research and testing of multiple vaccines such as cancer vaccine and those for infectious diseases, including Covid-19.
“This will bring huge recognition for RGCB in the specific area of vaccine research and development.”
The minister was presiding over a high-level meeting to review the current status of Covid-19 research, development of vaccines and other protocols as well as the contribution made in this direction by each of the autonomous institutions of the DBT located in various parts of the country, said a release by the Ministry of Science & Technology.
Odisha Science and Technology Minister Ashok Chandra Panda and Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Higher Education, Government of Delhi, Manish Sisodia also attended the meeting on behalf of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar and National Institute for Plant Genome Research, (NIPGR), New Delhi.
Secretary, DBT, Rajesh Gokhale said during the meeting that the department has prepared a roadmap with a focus on diagnosis, treatment and most importantly, prevention.
“DBT has supported 100 projects in the thematic areas of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, besides enabling seven vaccine candidates by industry and eight candidates by academia,” he said.
DBT, under Mission Covid Suraksha, also supported five vaccine candidates, 19 clinical trial sites, six facilities for immunogenicity assays and animal challenge models and facility augmentation for Covaxin production, the release added.
Heads and Directors of RGCB, Thiruvananthapuram; Centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics, (CDFD), Hyderabad; Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar; National Institute for Plant Genome Research, (NIPGR), New Delhi and Institute of Bioresources & Sustainable Development (IBSD), Imphal were also present in the meeting.