While people in India are locked down inside their homes and are busy keeping themselves away from coronavirus infection, there is good news as the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is likely to come up with "cost-effective and accurate diagnostic kits for wide distribution."
"We are helping our incubating companies; they have come out with ideas and we are supporting them. We are testing and validating the diagnostic kits proposed by them. We may come up with some good kits though it may take at least 2-3 weeks if everything goes well. Quality and accuracy of the kits are the most important things. If the kits give 100 per cent results, then only they will be approved," said R.K. Mishra, Director, CCMB, Hyderabad.
The CCMB also plans to culture the novel coronavirus or SARS-nCOV2. Mishra said that the institution has facilities for this and they have got the approvals from the government too, but they are yet to receive sample and kits to initiate the culture.
"In the meantime, our facilities are set and we are actually training people who are going for the testing in other recognised places in the city," he said.
There are five government designated testing centres in Telangana state. The CCMB has trained 25 people so that they can go and do the testing in these centres.
Some of the labs where the COVID-19 testing will be done include the Nizam's Institute Of Medical Sciences (NIMS) Hyderabad, Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital, Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical and Communicable Diseases or the Fever Hospital and the Warangal Hospital. The Centre for DNA Finger Printing and Diagnostics (CDFD) is also likely to be added to this group.
"Vaccine and drug development are another aspect of fighting the virus. But, as of now CCMB is neither working on the vaccine nor on the drug development.
"We have no expertise for working on this. However, when the virus is being cultured, we will try to set up a system as it can be used for screening" said Mishra. He told that may be CCMB's sister organisation the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) is working for repurposing of drugs, as making a new drug is a long-term process," a statement said.
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