With Covid-19 isolated, researchers awaiting insights to combat infection

With Covid-19 isolated, researchers awaiting insights to combat infection thumbnail
NEW DELHI: Researchers are looking for valuable insights to further combat Covid-19 after the National Institute of Virology in Pune has successfully isolated the infection. The deadly coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan in China, has spread to many countries wrecking havoc globally. In India, more than 1,000 cases have been reported and nearly 30 deaths.…

NEW DELHI: Researchers are looking for valuable insights to further combat Covid-19 after the National Institute of Virology in Pune has successfully isolated the infection.

The deadly coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan in China, has spread to many countries wrecking havoc globally. In India, more than 1,000 cases have been reported and nearly 30 deaths.

Raman R Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at ICMR, had earlier said the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune has been successful in isolating the virus, which is a prime requisite for doing any kind of research related to viruses.

“There are two ways of going for vaccine preparation. One is either you look at the sequences of the gene which may then lead to development of antibodies or you actually have the strain and then you try to develop a vaccine which is always an easier option,” he said.

Researchers at NIV are now hoping to get some valuable insights to further combat Covid-19.

“In order to look at newer drugs that might come, we are soon likely to participate in the WHO solidarity trial for Covid-19,” Gangakhedkar said.

“Earlier, we did not do it because our numbers were so small and our contribution would have looked minuscule,” he said.

He said the initial priority of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in developing drugs is more towards re-purposed molecules than new molecules because new molecule research tends to take longer time.

“And we don’t have so much time when we are facing this infection,” he said.

Health experts while appreciating the attempts in laboratory to seek a solution to tackle this global menace urged authorities to go for large-scale testing

“Desperate need of the hour is testing kits,” said Poonam Das, senior director, lab services, Max Healthcare.

Neha Gupta, Consultant, Infectious Disease Specialist Fortis Memorial Research Institute here said, “What we are following in the hospitals is that if a patient presents with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat and chest X-ray showing infiltrates, then the patient is a suspected Covid-19 case.”

India has a few testing centres in the space of viral research but there is a need to develop more such facilities, she said.

“This will allow for easier and faster testing with a quick turnaround period, ensuring quicker detection, confirmation and isolation, thereby enabling India to curb the spread of the virus.

“There is a need for pan-India viral research centres which allow labs tests for virus isolation in reliable, quick and cost reflective manner,” Gupta said.

The first images of coronavirus have been captured by scientists in Pune using transmission electron microscope imaging from throat swab of the first positive case in the country, a medical student from the Wuhan University and a native of Kerala, reported on January 30.

  • Download

    The Times of India News App for Latest India News

  • Subscribe

    Start Your Daily Mornings with Times of India Newspaper! Order Now

Read More