Protecting, empowering frontline workers to fight Covid-19: Centre’s science adviser
Vijay Raghavan listed out two necessary conditions to succeed against coronavirus—a shared sense of purpose with everyone in India and across the world, particularly the poor and vulnerable, and the ability to take well-thought-out steps.Updated: Mar 30, 2020 08:20 IST
Scientists in India are working along with several agencies and have linked with every level in the health system to put up a fight against the coronavirus disease in the country, the government’s principal scientific adviser has said.
In a series of tweets, K Vijay Raghavan explained how scientists are helping the government in containing the “powerful but unintelligent” deadly coronavirus, which has infected nearly 1000 people and killed more than 25 in India.
Vijay Raghavan listed out two necessary conditions to succeed against coronavirus—a shared sense of purpose with everyone in India and across the world, particularly the poor and vulnerable, and the ability to take well-thought-out steps.
“Both are needed to pushback the disease. Our scientists have both,” Vijay Raghavan tweeted.
Their task, he said, was to address all aspects of the short-, medium-, and long-haul “in a manner where we are never fatigued, but the virus is”.
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The principal scientific adviser said on the frontline are the ministry of health and family welfare, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), State Disaster Management Authorities and state health ministries.
He also listed other departments and ministries which are working to integrate and work on information available.
These agencies, he said, deal with testing every aspect of the disease and act on that information nationally and through states.
“In this background, our scientists and industry are helping empower our health-workers in the frontline, protecting them. Testing and large surveys. Drugs and vaccines,” Vijay Raghavan said.
On the demands for more diagnostic tests, the principal scientific adviser said ICMR is amplifying test sites and more laboratories are being opened across states.
“Efforts to increase test capacity by the ‘pooling’ of samples are being evaluated. This is not simple and needs the development and testing of optimization algorithms so that one positive in a large pool is not missed., for example,” he said.
“There are new tests being rolled-out, globally, for the presence, or traces of the virus having visited a person. These can be useful as a first-pass, even if they are cruder than the ‘gold-standard’ RT-PCR. Indian labs are developing these kinds of tests too,” he added.