New Delhi: The government has set up a ‘science and technology core team’ on COVID-19 to help the Indian scientific community coordinate its efforts to find immediate solutions to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, Monday tweeted that his office has “set up an ‘S&T Core-team on COVID-19’ of experts”, who will reach out to scientific clusters and “help define problems that need urgent and immediate solutions”.
1/n Thread. Science and Covid-19. You are all aware of the measures the Government is taking on COVID-19. These efforts coordinate all sections of our Central and State Governments and include public and private agencies. Your views, suggestions always receive careful attention.
— Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India (@PrinSciAdvGoI) March 16, 2020
“They will also work with academia and industry to help link teams to solve these problems speedily,” he wrote.
VijayRaghavan noted that the efforts of clinicians and health workers in the country would greatly benefit from inputs from science, technology, and innovation (STI).
In addition to the “top-down” efforts of various departments and ministries, such as the Department of Biotechnology and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research etc., he added, scientists need to proactively work together to ensure synergy and develop implementable solutions that health-workers and communities need.
“It is now time for all of us, individual scientists, institution leaders and groups of institutions to get together and contribute to containing, mitigating, and pushing back this pandemic,” he wrote in a series of posts.
The scientific adviser pointed out that a number of cities such as Kolkata, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Chennai have clusters of scientific research institutions and industries and these research and development hubs need to form a collaborative team and leadership.
Each of them can map out their strengths and identify what key COVID-19 problems they will address and solve in the coming weeks, months, and over the course of a year, he added.
“The goal is to make sure that our health-agencies, our science agencies, and most importantly our people and all peoples have the benefit of your knowledge, talents, and expertise speedily. Don’t hold back,” said VijayRaghavan.
“This is a time for us to re-purpose all the research we do, whether we wield a pencil or a radio-telescope, to this focused task,” he noted.
A total of 126 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in India as of Tuesday morning. The states of Kerala (22) and Maharashtra (36) have registered the maximum number of cases. So far, 13 people have recovered from the infection, while three deaths have been reported.