Combating Coronovirus Outbreak - CSIR Steps up to its Scientific Social Responsibility

With Covid-19, the new deadly strain of Coronavirus, affecting almost 4 lakh and causing the death of more than 17,000 people in 193 countries, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has stepped in with its expertise in various areas.

Frequent hand-washing with soap water or alcohol-based sanitiser has emerged as a major safeguard against the deadly Coronavirus sweeping the world. The disease created such a panic that hand sanitisers soon went out of stock and at some places fake products even hit the markets.

Coming up with an immediate solution, scientists at the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) based in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, have developed an alcohol-based formulation of hand sanitizer with alcohol content as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

The the newly formulated hand sanitizer contains active tea ingredients, natural flavours and alcohol; chemicals like parabens, synthetic fragrance, triclosan and phthalates have not been used in the sanitizer.

The technology has been transferred to a Palampur-based company M/s A.B. Scientific Solutions for commercial production for which an agreement was signed between the institute and the company.

Meanwhile, the CSIR-Industrial Toxicology Research Institute (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow also distributed hand sanitisers manufactured by it among people in essential services. The Insitute handed over 10,000 sanitiser units to the district administration.

An electrostatic disinfection machine has also been developed by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIR-CSIO), Chandigarh. It can disinfect any surface, place or object. The machine can be used in public places, bus stands, airports and even in homes. The size of the machine can be customised according to the use. Based on charge particle theory, the new electrostatic disinfection machine has already undergone trials and is said to be 80% more effective than other spraying machines. Its technology has already been transferred to a Karnataka-based company.

CSIR’s Hyderabad-based laboratory Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) is working on diagnostic kits for Covid-19. It is helping its incubating companies come out with ideas. Facility at CSIR-CCMB is also being used to test samples of infection by coronavirus. The facility has the capacity to test 1,000 samples in a day. CCMB is also training technicians for Covid-19 testing.

CSIR has also announced support for Industry-Academia partnership for immediately furthering urgent research on Covid19 and developing technologies for faster and cost-effective diagnostics, ventilators and other assistive devices, and fast-track clinical trials of repurposed drugs. The call for participation has been issued under its New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) – a pioneering program for public private partnerships in R&D in India.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company Cipla has announced that it is fast-tracking repurposing of its wide variety of respiratory, asthma, anti-virals and HIV drugs to meet challenges arising from coronaviru in collaboration with scientists from the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is at the forefront of combating one of the most severe and critical health challenges faced by the country in many years.