CSIR Intensifies Fight Against COVID-19, Rolls Out Key Initiatives to Combat Coronavirus Spread
CSIR-CBRI CSIR-CCMB CSIR-CDRI CSIR-CECRI CSIR-CFTRI CSIR-CIMAP CSIR-CLRI CSIR-CMERI CSIR-CSIO CSIR-CSMCRI CSIR-IGIB CSIR-IHBT CSIR-IICB CSIR-IICT CSIR-IIIM CSIR-IITR CSIR-IMMT CSIR-IMTECH CSIR-NAL CSIR-NBRI CSIR-NCL CSIR-NEERI CSIR-NEIST CSIR-NIIST CSIR-NIO CSIR-NISCAIR CSIR-NPL
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With the coronavirus pandemic continuing its deadly run by infecting more than a million people and causing the death of more than 82,000 people across the world, the laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) intensified their efforts at combating the pandemic. 

CSIR labs have been contributing extensively to control the spread of coronavirus by providing sanitizers, soaps, masks, PPEs and ready to eat food. The labs have now also started working on diagnosis and treatment for which five verticals have been set up:

  • Digital and molecular surveillance
  • Rapid and economical diagnosis
  • Development of new drugs/repurposing of drugs
  • Hospital assistive devices
  • PPEs, supply chain and logistics

 

In face of the unique challenges thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic, CSIR labs have managed to come up with innovations and leads that could go a long way in combating the challenge.

 

Unravelling the Virus

To begin with, since understanding the enemy is important, two institutes – CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi – are working on sequencing the genome of the COVID-19 virus. With a better understanding of the evolution and dynamic nature of the virus useful inferences could be drawn about the nature and working of the COVID-19 virus.

A better understanding of the strain of the virus would enable the institutes to establish the family tree of the virus and implement better isolation strategies. Generating genome sequences of viral isolates from across the country will also help understand the genetic component influencing the variability in individual response to the viral infection by studying patient genotypes. CSIR-IGIB will also try to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the patient vis-à-vis the genetic makeup of the patient by following a cohort of patients in the long term.

 

Quick & Cost-effective Test for COVID-19

With the country reaching the stage in the course of the coronavirus pandemic where rapid testing has become essential, scientists of the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, have come up with a low-cost, paper-strip coronavirus test which can detect the virus within an hour. The paper-strip test, similar to the test used to confirm pregnancy, utilises CRISPR-Cas9, a cutting-edge gene-editing tool. Not only is the test cost-effective – it costs Rs 500 as compared to the PCR test being currently used and which costs Rs 4500 – the test does not need dedicated machinery or specialised skill. 

PCR testing involves RNA isolation, DNA conversion and amplification and is in limited supply. CSIR-IGIB’s paper-strip test can be performed using equipment available in pathological labs. And this is the USP of the test. As infections shoot up the test can be employed in local clinics to test larger numbers in lesser time.

Meanwhile, CSIR-CEERI, Pilani, along with CSIR-IMTECH, IIT Ropar and TCS, Mumbai, is also developing a portable and rapid COVID-19 detection device which will be based on antibody-antigen reaction. The Institute is also working with CSIR-NIIST, CSIR-IICB, IIT-Ropar and TCS, Mumbai, develop a portable and instant COVID-19 detection device which will be based on Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) active chip and Artificial Intelligence based hand-held Raman spectrometer.

CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI), Mysuru, joined hands with the district administration by making available equipment needed for testing of samples. The institute is providing two PCR machines and one RNA extraction unit along with necessary chemicals to the district administration for coping with the large number of samples to be tested in the district. The PCR machines were handed over on 5 April 2020. The machines will help by tripling the number of tests conducted per day. 

 

Gearing up for COVID-19 Testing

After the decision of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to allow CSIR labs to carry out COVID-19 testing to increase the testing rate among suspected patients, several CSIR labs have geared up to take up the responsibility. CSIR labs are fully equipped with the requisite expertise, equipment and the facilities required for rapid testing.

CSIR will work on RT-PCR based, RNA sequence-based, Crispr/Cas based paper diagnostic and sero diagnosis. CSIR laboratories namely CSIR-CCMB, CSIR-IGIB, CSIR-IICB, CSIR-IMT, CSIR-IICT are equipped with the requisite facilities to do genome sequencing of all the samples. CSIR labs, CSIR-CCMB, CSIR-IGIB, and CSIR-IMTECH have received approval for testing Coronvirus patient samples. Nearly 10 other CSIR labs are in the process of gearing up for testing.

CSIR labs have also made preparations for synthesis of reagents that are required in large quantities for bulk RT-PCR diagnosis. CSIR-IICT will be the lead laboratory in this endeavour with participation from CSIR-NCL. CSIR-IICT has been able to develop recombinant enzymes (Reverse Transcriptase and DNA polymerase and two other proteins) that are used in RT-PCR reaction. At present supplies sufficient for more than 5 lakh reactions are ready. Also, enzymes are available for distribution to anybody who would like to make RT-PCR kits. 

CSIR-CCMB has also trained medical staff in handling patient samples and performing RT-PCT detection assays from Telangana Medical institutions designated as COVID-19 testing centres.

Meanwhile, CSIR-IICB has come up with an interactive patient contact map from GIS data of cities in India from where the patients are being diagnosed to help epidemiological strategy development (https://drjit1806.shinyapps.io/COVID_19_GIS_Pockets/). The Institute has also developed a Machine Learning Model that reveals key predictors of mortality in patients with COVID-19 (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.25.20043331v1).

 

Developing Drugs for Treatment Options 

To come up with immediate treatment options, CSIR’s main focus is on working on the repurposing of existing drugs and synthesis of repurposed drugs. CSIR has partnered with some of the major Pharmaceutical companies. 

It has been identified that WHO approved drugs such as Paracetamol, Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Flaviparavir, Lupinivir, etc. can be helpful for coronavirus treatment in India. Laboratories like CSIR-IICT and CSIR-CDRI are fully equipped and will be carrying out repurposing of such drugs to COVID-19 treatment as per WHO norms. Pharmaceutical company Cipla has already announced that it is fast-tracking repurposing of its wide variety of respiratory, asthma, anti-virals and HIV drugs to meet challenges arising from coronavirus in collaboration with scientists from the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad. CSIR-IICT has also been able to source about 200 Favipiravir tablets from Japan for comparative studies.

In face of a shortage of drug intermediates or key starting materials, as the imports from China will be very costly, CSIR-NCL has designed a roadmap for the synthesis and indigenous manufacture of drug intermediates and key starting materials for essential drugs (announced by the Union Cabinet on 21 March) using chemical synthesis and continuous flow process. 

URDIP and CSIR-CDRI are identifying a few Phase-II molecules that can be moved on a fast pedestal for clinical trials. CSIR-CDRI is in the process of synthesising and demonstrating the process for some of the repurposed drugs in clinical trials like Arbidol, Baricitinib, Camostatmesylate, Galidesivir, Ruxolitinib and other selected molecules. The technology will be shared with Industry partners for bulk production and deployment. The Institute has also synthesised Niclosamide analogues for evaluation against Papain-like proteinase (PL-Pro) from COVID Sars-2 and also other selected molecules for testing their inhibitory efficacy.

The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Ltd is also collaborating with the CSIR to design new chemical entities using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for treating COVID-19.

Viral Transport Medium (VTM) is a serious limitation in collecting and transporting COVID-19 samples. One component of VTM (veal infusion broth) is imported which is the reason for the limitation. Therefore, CSIR-IICT developed two saline-based solutions which are under evaluation at Gandhi Hospital, Hyderabad.

CSIR-IICB has initiated a programme for the development of an anti- COVID-19 antisera bank (biobanking of plasma from convalescent donors).

Besides, to understand the COVID-19 receptor recognition causing infectivity and pathogenesis, CSIR-IICB compiled a list of 20 probable drug targets on host and virus based on viral life cycle for the rational development of future antivirals. They prepared nine homology models for vital proteins for which no crystal structure is reported, which includes protein from the host, viral membrane proteins and essential Non-structural Proteins (NSPs) of the virus. The information can be used for the discovery effort towards new antivirals as well as repurposing FDA approved drugs against COVID-19.

 

Leads from Natural Products

CSIR is working closely with the Department of Ayush for developing preventive and prophylactic symptom management and add-on interventions to the modern medicine treatments. 

CSIR-IIIM, Jammu is working on the development of Cocculus hirsutus and Glycyrrhiza glabra as phytopharmaceutical leads for COVID-19 in collaboration with Sun Pharma.

CSIR-CDRI has isolated important andrographolides, neoandrographolides and graphisides from Andrographis paniculata (Kalmegh) for testing their efficacy against COVID Sars-2. In silico target-based screening, studies suggest that some of these can inhibit critical proteins like the CL-proteinase of the pathogen. Kalmegh is an important plant reported in traditional medicine, both as an immune booster and also for antiviral activities.

CSIR-CDRI has also identified that some isolated compounds from Polyalthia longifolia, commonly known as the ‘Ashoka tree’, have striking similarities to some of the isolated compounds from Andrographis paniculata. These are also being evaluated against the COVID-19 infection targets and models. 

CSIR-IIIM is exploring Zinc Gluconate and Proline as nutraceuticals and Unilever has agreed to partner with it to develop Zn-Gluconate and amino acid complex.

CSIR-NIIST is working on developing natural products/Ayurveda based sanitisers, inhalers and immunity boosters. The Institute is also screening selected Ayurvedic formulations, medicinal plants used in classical formulations or folklore medicines, and molecules from CSIR-NIIST natural products repository for treatment of viral diseases.

CSIR-NIO has also taken an initiative in dialogue with CSIR-IGIB and CSIR-IMTECH research groups to screen marine-derived secondary metabolites for COVID-19 Protease inhibition.

 

Frontline Defence

With hand washing and sanitation emerging as the frontline defence against the novel coronavirus, CSIR labs have also focused attention on developing and distributing economical and effective hand sanitizers.

Scientists at the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) based in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, have developed an alcohol-based formulation of hand sanitiser with alcohol content as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The hand sanitiser contains active tea ingredients, natural flavours and alcohol; chemicals like parabens, synthetic fragrance, triclosan and phthalates have not been used in the sanitiser. The technology has been transferred to a Palampur-based company M/s A.B. Scientific Solutions for commercial production.

CSIR-IICT has also standardized the process for the preparation of alcohol-based hand sanitising gel. 250 L of hand sanitising gel was prepared in the laboratory for internal and sister lab consumption. 800 L of hand sanitising gel is prepared within the lab with a batch capacity of 100 L per day. The hand sanitising gel was also distributed to Telangana Police and GHMC workers. The process technology was transferred to a Rajasthan based MSME on 19 March 2020 on non-exclusive basis and is also ready for transfer to any government organization, free of cost, provided they have sufficient raw materials.

Meanwhile, the CSIR-Industrial Toxicology Research Institute (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow, also distributed hand sanitisers manufactured by it among people in essential services. The Institute handed over 10,000 sanitiser units to the district administration and provided hand-rub sanitiser to the office of State Mission of Clean Ganga (SMCG), UP. CSIR-IITR also signed an agreement on 30 March 2020 with M/s ASPL Green Ventures (P) Ltd, a Lucknow based start-up to be incubated at CSIR-IITR BIRAC-BIONEST for sanitiser preparation.

CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute (CSIR-CLRI), Chennai also prepared 1000 bottles of hand sanitizers for use in the Chennai Corporation. These hand sanitisers were handed over to the Assistant Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation Shri Thirumuraugan, by Dr K.J. Sreeram, Director, CSIR-CLRI.

CSIR-Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI), Karaikudi also handed over handwash and hand sanitisers, hand sanitiser sprayers, and hypo-disinfectants to Sivaganga Govt Medical College, Govt Primary Health Centre, Puduvayal and S.R. Pattanam Primary Health Centre.

CSIR-CIMAP also prepared in its pilot facility and handed over 1000 bottles of its hand sanitiser (Hankool), 1000 bottles of floor disinfectant (Swabee) and 50 litres of floor cleaner (Cleangerm) to the Lucknow Nagar Nigam and District Magistrate for distribution.

CSIR-IMMT scientists are also working on an alcohol-based liquid hand-rub with plant extracts exhibiting aromatic and anti-infective activity. The preparation is being validated by Bhubaneswar RMRC for use as a disinfectant against Coronavirus after which bulk production will start. CSIR-IMMT aims to supply the sanitizer to the State Police Department and AIIMS Bhubaneswar.

CSIR-IMMT scientists are also working on a process for the preparation of affordable soap bars with anti-infective property by using cold process of soap making. The method utilizes approved chemical ingredients along with metallic substances exhibiting antimicrobial activity. 

Scientists from CSIR-CSMCRI, Bhavnagar have also made large quantities of alcohol-based hand sanitiser that complies with WHO standards. This has been supplied to Bhavnagar Medical College (BMC).

In March, CSIR-NBRI also transferred herbal alcohol-based hand sanitiser technologies to two entrepreneurs for large-scale production. Commercial production has already started. The Institute also developed a disinfectant and circulated the formula among the villagers for use in washing clothes and masks.

Similarly taking the responsibility on war footing, CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat, along with its Branch Labs, Imphal & Manipur prepared hand sanitizer, hand wash, liquid disinfectant, sanitized paper towel and anti-septic soap in large quantities. The hand sanitizers were also distributed to various sections of the society including the institute’s staff and family members, local communities, various nearby establishments like SBI RRL Branch, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Post Office, Jorhat Airport, District Administration including Police Stations, Airforce Station, Jorhat and Railway Station and different essential service related establishments in Jorhat. In Manipur, these were distributed in NABARD bank, hospitals, Manipur University, district municipality, etc. On 25 March 2020, a team of scientists also visited Airforce Station, Jorhat and prepared 130 litres of Hand Sanitizer and 160 litres of Disinfectant in the Airforce Campus and briefed about the various precautions to be taken.

With the demand for soap rising as a protective measure against the highly contagious Coronavirus, CSIR-IHBT has developed a herbal soap with natural saponins. The composition does not contain any mineral oil, SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) and SDS (Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate) and provides effective antifungal, antibacterial, cleansing and moisturising benefits. The technology has been transferred to two Himachal Pradesh based companies for commercial production and making available in major cities across the country.

In Bhubaneswar, the CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) has developed a hands-free hand sanitising system which it plans to install at strategic locations in and around Bhubaneswar city. The system is mechanically operated by foot for dispensing liquid soap for hand sanitisation and water flow for washing. It can be utilised either as a standalone compact unit with water source or can be attached to any existing washbasin. The operation doesn’t require electricity.

On similar lines, CSIR-CSIO has also developed a “Foot Controlled Water Tap” for delivering water from a plumbing system using foot. The use of foot for the operation avoids secondary transfer of germs/microbes of contagious nature through common usage of faucet. Also, the tap does not use any external power. This tap can be installed in existing faucet systems for multi-level flow regulation. The technology has been transferred to M/s Jupiter Aqua Lines Limited, Mohali. 

 

Disinfection Machines

With the coronavirus pandemic spreading through droplets deposited on surfaces, disinfecting the surfaces is critical. Surfaces that are not cleaned properly and disinfected regularly, can become a hotbed for pathogen growth such as Coronavirus. Poultry, livestock, healthcare, public transport, airports and railways, hotels and catering, workplace and offices are places where harmful microorganisms make people vulnerable to diseases. Conventional methods of disinfection such as manual washing and cleaning consume more material with lesser efficiency and increased load of chemical waste in the environment.

The CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIR-CSIO), Chandigarh has developed the Electrostatic Disinfection Spray Machine that can disinfect any surface, place or object and can take care of droplets of the size of 10 to 20 micron. The machine can be used in public places, bus stands, airports and with some customisation even in homes. 

Based on the electrostatic principle, the machine produces uniform and fine spray droplets of disinfectant and sanitisation material in the range of 10-20 µm. Due to the small size of the droplets, the surface area of spray droplets increases which enhances the interaction with the harmful microorganisms and Coronavirus. Charged droplets cover the directly exposed and obscured surfaces uniformly with increased efficiency and efficacy and the disinfectant reaches all hidden areas where there is maximum possibility of finding the viruses. Therefore, it kills or inhibits the growth of pathogens very effectively.

The machine uses very less disinfection material as compared to conventional methods. The technology for the machine has been transferred to the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), which has already started its production in large numbers. 

Meanwhile, a major engineering and construction company along with DRDO is in talks with CSIR-NCL to test and validate its human fumigation/disinfection spray tunnel for use near hospitals and in public places. NCL will help to decide chemical composition of sanitizer and test the extent of disinfection of clothing post-sanitization.

To take care of the safety of medical persons in hospitals while treating Coronavirus patients, CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) has customised its Bench-scale Air Purification Scrubber (BAPS), meant for outdoor air pollution, to clean up indoor air pollution as well. The scrubber absorbs dust particles from the air. The impure air is delivered to the lower chamber of the system through a pipe where it is treated with a mixture of disinfectant and soap water. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the bio-aerosols including virus fall apart and become inactive. Being heavier, the dirt particles in the air settle down at the bottom of the chamber and the treated air is released. CSIR-NEERI has handed over the scrubber to the Mayo Hospital in Nagpur where nine corona positive patients are currently undergoing treatment.

CSIR-CMERI’s Disinfection Walkway also ensures maximum target coverage with minimum shadow area of an individual or an object. It can be deployed at multiple critical locations such as Isolation/Quarantine facilities, Mass Transit System Entry points, Medical Centres and any other location with a considerable amount of footfall. The disinfectant used has no side effects such as itching, irritation, etc. A prototype of the Disinfection Walkway has been installed at CSIR-CMERI Medical Centre.

CSIR-CMERI has also come up with a Road Sanitiser Unit – a tractor-mounted Road Sanitising System with a span of 16 feet, which uses 15 to 35 bars of pressure to ensure effective delivery of the sanitiser. The system utilizes a 3000 litre tank with a pump of 22 LMP which can be used to sanitise a road stretch of upto 50 km. The first developed prototype is under trial run at CSIR-CMERI.

CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute is also working on a disinfection chamber.

 

Ventilators & PPEs

The availability of ventilators in hospitals for critically ill COVID-19 patients has emerged as a major challenge. A ventilator is a mechanical breathing device that blows air and oxygen into the lungs and is critical for people with lung failure – a potentially fatal complication in patients with severe COVID-19.

CSIR has started collaborating with BHEL on a war footing to develop ventilators to ensure ventilators are not in short supply when the disease enters the critical stage. For the moment, three CSIR labs are working on different types of ventilators. While CSIR-NAL is working on the Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) system, CSIR-CSIO is working on the Respiration assistance intervention device (RESPaid), which is a portable ventilator. 

CSIR-CMERI has developed a prototype for Mechanical Ventilator, which might be deployed to help huge volumes of prospective patients if required. The prototype has been equipped with multiple life-saving control features such as Tidal Volume, Breaths per Minute and Inspiratory/Expiratory ratios. 

In addition to ventilators, Personal Protective Equipments are also required in large numbers. Three items – Masks, Gowns and Gloves – are especially expected to see a significant increase in demand by the medical fraternity. CSIR would be focussing on these items in collaboration with hospitals. In this context, CSIR Labs including CSIR-NCL, CSIR-NAL, CSIR-IICT, and CSIR-CDRI are also working on the production of self-disinfecting or reusable protective gears in consultation with CSIR-IGIB.

CSIR-CSIO has designed an easy to fabricate Face Shield. The design uses easily available materials for production in volumes with a minimum investment in materials and machines. The design is ergonomic with universal head size adaptability, avoids fogging, is ultra lightweight and provides ample room for wearing eyeglasses. The design can be fabricated using various materials viz. plastic, cardboard and fabrication methods such as 3D printing, laser cutting, die-cutting. The design is transportation friendly and can be assembled by the user in a few easy steps. The estimated production cost per piece is not more than Rs. 15.00 depending upon fabrication material and method. Although, the face shield has been designed as disposable after use, however, the same can be reused after sanitization.

CSIR-CECRI has also developed 3D printed face shields to help protect Doctors and Nurses treating Covid-19 patients. A few pieces were presented to Doctors and other paramedical staff working in the CSIR-CECRI Dispensary. Taking it further with a private partner for mass production with synergistically improved design aspects and printing of antimicrobial coated face shields has also been planned.

Scientists of CSIR-CSMCRI have also used 3D printing technology to make protective face shields for doctors and paramedics attending to COVID-19 patients. In these cost-effective shields, the frame is made of Polylactic Acetate (PLA) and the front transparent portion is made of cellulose acetate (OHP sheets). These have been sent to Bhavnagar Medical College and have been greatly appreciated by the medical fraternity.

CSIR-NCL has initiated collaboration with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) for the assembly/manufacture of contact-less digital IR thermometer and Oxygen enrichment device, both innovations from CSIR-NCL scientists and CSIR-NCL Venture Center. Multiple units of prototypes will be manufactured at BEL, Pune. 

CSIR-CMERI has also come up with a two-layered filter mask to ensure considerable facial area coverage. The dual-layered filters ensure maximum protection against external infection. The replaceable filters are Hydrophobic (water-resistant) and ensure perpetual use of the filter-support, which can be sterilized utilising commonly used procedures. The filters can resist up to 90% of contaminated aerosols. Keeping in mind the mass requirements in the present context, the cost of an individual unit has been restricted to Rs 5. Soon the product will be available to CSIR-CMERI employees for testing purpose.

Meanwhile, CSIR-NPL is supporting biomedical laboratories in the country by providing certification services of Infrared (IR) Thermometers, Blood Pressure Measuring Instruments, calibration of Ventilator Testers, Gas Flow Analyzers, Infusion Device Analyzers, Infusion Pumps, Defibrillators, etc. It is also setting up testing facilities for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

 

Structural Contributions

CSIR-SERC is gearing up to contribute towards fast, lightweight and prefabricated structures for makeshift hospitals and quarantine facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The structures would be built utilizing lightweight material by ensuring safety and stability such that structures can be constructed in a couple of days. 

For the construction, it is proposed to employ precast units to reduce labour and time. The approximate cost for setting up the proposed structure is INR 25000-28000/- per sq m and the erection time at the site will be less than seven days (time requirement for the fabrication of truss elements at the factory and the foundation at the site will be 10-14 days). Additional INR 3000-5000/- per sq m may be required for mobility, toilet and other functional and specific requirements. The air filtration system, AC system and doctors’ rooms, anti-viral painting, etc if required, will have to be added appropriately. 

A 500-bed hospital for COVID-19 patients is also being constructed within a month in Haridwar. The hospital made of prefabricated structure will be constructed under the guidance of CSIR-Central Building Research Institute (CSIR-CBRI), Roorkee and IIT Roorkee.

 

Promoting Rural Entrepreneurship 

The ongoing pandemic and the consequent country-wide lockdown have led to large-scale exodus of daily wagers and contract workers with their families to their native villages. Apart from health issues, unemployment is likely to become a major issue very soon. 

CSIR has rolled out plans to help the rural areas tide over health issues and also create and promote rural entrepreneurship. Each CSIR lab has been asked to identify and develop/train entrepreneurs from 10 nearby villages for meeting the demand of products required for combating COVID-19 like Disinfectants, Sanitisers, Soaps, Masks, Gloves, Food Products, Water Purification kits, etc. Efforts would be made to engage other important stakeholders like social and voluntary organizations. During all such endeavours, the labs would utilise digital tools wherever possible and also strictly adhere to the concept of social distancing – the key to combating the pandemic. 

CSIR labs would also strengthen MSMEs in rural settings for development/manufacturing of ventilators, rapid housing and quarantine hospitals/structures, walk-through disinfectant structures, etc. An attempt would also be made to rope in industries for deploying CSR money for rural entrepreneurship related to COVID-19 control requirements.

 

Call for Proposals for Developing Technologies to Fight COVID-19

CSIR-New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) invited proposals from industries & startups under the NMITLI schemes in areas such as effective containment interventions, assistive devices, innovative diagnostics, novel drugs, new vaccines, etc. for combating COVID-19.

 

Corona Awareness

Ever since the life-threatening highly contagious virus has hit the country, awareness and prevention have been the vital steps to contain COVID-19 from spreading rapidly. CSIR-NISCAIR was among the earliest to take immediate steps to spread awareness about the deadly virus by designing, printing and distributing posters, both offline and online. The informative posters were designed in multiple languages, including Assamese, English, Hindi, Odiya, and Urdu. 

With conventional print channels not being available, the Institute’s scientific personnel have made efforts to disseminate credible and validated corona-related information through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Science Reporter and Vigyan Pragati, the two popular science magazines of CSIR-NISCAIR, and the CSIR newsletter CSIR News have exhaustively featured corona related content as cover and feature stories. The articles about corona have been made available for public consumption through online channels.

Similarly, CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat, also prepared 40 posters and 1500 leaflets on “COVID19” both in English and Assamese language for making people aware of the Coronavirus and precautionary measures to be taken.

As the coronavirus moves on through the country on its deadly trajectory, CSIR laboratories spread throughout the country reiterate their commitment to serve the nation by all means and resolve to control the spread of COVID-19 with the help of Science & Technology.