A group of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati is working to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic as well as rapid detection and portable diagnostic kits for various viruses and microorganisms. The group is led by Prof Sachin Kumar, Department of Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering.
To find a solution for the diseases, researchers are exploring possibilities to “clone the immunogenic proteins of SARS-CoV-2 to be used as diagnostics and possible vaccine candidates,” informed the institute. SARS-CoV-2 is the technical term used to refer to acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
To prevent spread of the coronavirus pandemic, IIT Guwahati has also developed hand-sanitisers as prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and these are being distributed to everyone on campus, including visitors. The institute claims to have used tea extract to impart a different colour to stop any adulteration.
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The group has earlier developed recombinant vaccines against Japanese encephalitis and classical swine fever virus. Their research was also published in the journal Vaccine and Archives of Virology, respectively.
The viral immunology laboratory at IIT Guwahati works primarily on avian paramyxovirus and is actively involved in the development of vaccines and diagnostics against this. Besides, the lab has developed a viral vector system to deliver foreign antigens.
The institute clarified, “It is just a proof of concept and the work requires a thorough validation in cell culture and animal model before coming to any conclusion.”
Meanwhile, other IITs are also working to fight the pandemic. Researchers at IIT Delhi have found a new way method to test coronavirus which the institute claims can bring down the cost of testing and also fill in for the shortage of testing kits faced by India.
Amid the pandemic spread, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a lock-down of 21 days across the country to enforce stay-at-home orders. The PM said that the essential services will remain functional afterwards.
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