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August 28, 2020
CSIR-CMERI has developed the World's Largest Solar Tree, which is installed at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony, Durgapur. Prof.(Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, while elaborating about the technology stated that, "The installed capacity of the Solar Tree is above 11.5 kWp. It has the annual capacity to generate 12,000-14,000 units of Clean and Green Power".
The Solar Tree has been designed in a manner to ensure maximum exposure of each Solar PV Panel to Sunlight and also creation of the least amount of shadow area beneath. There are a total of 35 Solar PV Panels in each tree with a capacity of 330 wp each. The inclination of the arms holding the Solar PV Panels are flexible and can be adjusted as per requirement, this feature is not available in Roof-Mounted Solar facilities. The energy generation data can be monitored either real-time or on daily basis.
Prof.(Dr.) Harish Hirani explained, "The CSIR-CMERI developed Solar Tree besides being the World's Largest Solar Tree also has certain customizable features for application at diverse sites. The Solar Trees were designed in a manner to ensure minimum Shadow Area, thus potentially making these Solar Trees available for widespread usage in Agricultural activities such as High Capacity Pumps, e-Tractors and e-Power Tillers.
These Solar Trees can be aligned with Agriculture for substituting price-volatile fossil fuels. Each Solar Tree has the potential to save 10-12 tons of CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere as Greenhouse Gases when compared with fossil fuel fired energy generation.Besides, the surplus generated power can be fed into an Energy Grid.
This Agricultural Model can provide a consistent economic return and help the farmers counter the effects of the uncertain variations in Agriculture related activities, thus, making farming an Economic and Energy Sustainable practice."
Each Solar Tree will cost Rs 7.5 lakhs and the interested MSMEs can align their Business Model with the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) Scheme for farmers, for developing a Renewable Energy based Energy Grid.
The solar tree has the capability to incorporate IOT based features, i.e. round-the-clock CCTV surveillance in agricultural fields, real-time humidity, wind speed, rainfall prediction and soil analytics sensors. The CSIR-CMERI developed solar powered e-Suvidha Kiosks may also be connected to the Solar Trees for real-time access to the vast majority of agricultural database as well as to the eNAM i.e. National Agricultural MarketPlace for instant and real-time access to an unified online market.This Solar Tree is a Quantum Leap towards making an Energy Reliant and Carbon Negative India.
August 1, 2020 (N. Delhi)
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science & Technology, Health & Family Welfare and Earth Sciences announced the successful completion of PAN-India 1000 Genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 here today. He took a meeting with Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and reviewed the COVID-19 activities of DBT, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and DBT-Autonomous Institutions (AIs).
During the meeting, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also launched and dedicated to the nation the largest network of five dedicated COVID-19 Biorepositories established by Department of Biotechnology in record time. These are at Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) Faridabad, Institute of Life Science (ILS) Bhubaneshwar, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) New Delhi, National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) Pune and Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (InStem) Bangalore. He complemented the efforts of DBT in "the relentless war for mitigation of this Pandemic".
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, "Given the importance of this information for public health response initiatives requiring investigation into the transmission of COVID-19, the sequence data will soon be released in Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) for use by researchers across the Globe". "The information in the database will improve our understanding on how the virus is spreading, ultimately helping to interrupt the transmission chains, prevent new cases of infection, and provide impetus to research on intervention measures", he added. The Minister also pointed out, "The data analysis, which is ongoing, may bring out some interesting conclusions to help in our fight against COVID-19."
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also highlighted that "16 Vaccine Candidates are in different stages of development. The BCG Vaccine is undergoing phase 3 trial, Zydus Cadila DNA Vaccine is in phase I / II trial and 4 Vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of pre-clinical study". "5 Good clinical laboratory practice (GCLP) clinical trial sites have been developed and 6 animal models for Vaccine Development Studies are also ready", he said.
The Department of Biotechnology had launched a Pan India 1000 SARS-CoV-2 RNA Genome Sequencing programme in May this year to be done by Autonomous Institutes of DBT, collaborating with national laboratories and clinical organizations.
The consortium coordinated by National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG-Kalyani), West Bengal and Five other National clusters, ILS-Bhubaneswar, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD)-Hyderabad, InStem- National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)-IISc-Bangalore, and NCCS-Pune are actively participating in sequencing and analysis. Collaborating National Institutes and clinical organizations involved are ICMR - National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER)-Kolkata, IISc-Bangalore, AIIMS- Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC)-Delhi, THSTI-Faridabad, Grant Medical College (GMC)-Aurangabad, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS)-Wardha, Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) and Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Government Medical College (BJMC)-Pune, and other hospitals.
The Consortium has achieved its initial goal of completing the sequencing of 1000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs collected from individuals testing positive for COVID19 by Real Time PCR. The samples were collected across 10 states covering different zones within India.
DBT is supporting COVID-19 Bio Repositories through a well strategized plan so that novel technological interventions can be developed in due course of time. The main purpose of these biorepositories are archival of inactivated virus and clinical samples, including naso-oropharyngeal swabs, stool, urine, saliva, serum, plasma, PBMC and Serum.
These designated bio repositories will use the clinical samples for R&D purpose and are authorized to share the samples with academia, industry and commercial entities involved in development of diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines etc., after scrutinising the purpose of the request and ensuring benefit to the country. Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for sample collection, transportation, aliquoting, storage and sharing have been developed. As on date, 44452 clinical samples have been collected and stored in these five centres. More than 5,000 samples have been shared.
During the meeting which was attended by Dr Renu Swarup Secretary DBT, and joined through video-links by Senior officers of DBT and its Autonomous Institutes and Public Sectors BIRAC and BIBCOL,the Minister was presented an update on the DBT?BIRAC COVID 19 Research Consortia under which more than 150 Research Groups have been supported involving nearly 80 Industry /Academia collaborations, 40 Academic Research Institutes and more than 25 Startup Research Groups.
The consortium has successfully developed 100 percent self-reliance for producing more than 5 lakh RTPCR diagnostic kits per day. 4 technologies of DBT AI's have been transferred to the Industry for commercial manufacturing of diagnostic kits. DBT AI's are also providing services for Diagnostic Testing, Kit Validation and Antiviral testing.
July 2, 2020 (N. Delhi)
Government launches Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 (DDH2020), a first of its kind National Initiative for supporting drug discovery process
The Union Government launched Drug Discovery Hackathon here today in the presence of Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhanand Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'. This Drug Discovery Hackathon is a joint initiative of MHRD's Innovation Cell (MIC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and supported by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), MyGov as well as private players.
Minister of State for HRD Shri Sanjay Dhotre, Principal Scientific Advisor Prof. VijayRaghavan, DG CSIR, Dr.ShekharMande, Chairman AICTE, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, President, Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) Prof. B Suresh and Chief Innovation Officer, MHRD, Dr. Abhay Jere were also present during the online launch program. This Hackathon is first of its kind National initiative for supporting drug discovery process and will see participation from professionals, faculty, researchers and students from varied fields like Computer Science, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Medical Sciences, Basic Sciences and Biotechnology.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for S&T said, "We need to establish the culture of Computational Drug Discovery in our country. In this initiative, MHRD's Innovation cell and AICTE will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while CSIR will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing for efficacy, toxicity, sensitivity and specificity." Pointing out that drug discovery is a complex, expensive, arduous and time-consuming process, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, "While we pursue clinical trials of few repurposed drugs for COVID-19, as they are faster and can quickly be launched, it is also important that we find other suitable repurposed drugs while at the same time continue working on new drug discovery to develop specific drugs against COVID-19". He added, "in-silico drug discovery which utilizes Computational methods such as Machine Learning (ML), AI and Big Data will help in accelerating this process".
Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', HRD Minister said, "MHRD and AICTE have huge experience in organizing Hackathons but for the first time, we are using hackathon model for tackling a great scientific challenge. More importantly, this initiative is open for researchers/faculty across the globe as we are keen on attracting international talent to join and support our efforts."
Minister of State for HRD Shri Sanjay Dhotre also appreciated the concept and said, "Our government has kick-started Hackathon culture in this country which is very critical for challenging our youngsters to solve some of the daunting problems faced by our nation."
Prof K. Vijay Raghavan, PSA, Govt. of India said, "I wish to thank MHRD, AICTE and CSIR and all our partners for supporting this Hackathon which will help India establish new model for expediting drug discovery process. The Hackathon consists of challenges that are posted as problem statements and, are based on specific drug discovery topics which, are open to the participants to solve. It will have three phases of three months each and the whole exercise is to be completed by April-May 2021. At the end of each phase, successful teams will be rewarded. The 'lead' compounds identified at the end of phase 3 will be taken forward for experimental level at CSIR and other interested organizations.
During the launch function, Dr.Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer explained the concept of Drug Discovery Hackathon, while Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe extended all the support from AICTE and appealed all technical institutions to participate in this initiative in big numbers. Dr.Shekhar Mande extended all the required commitment from CSIR's side for this initiative. He also expressed satisfaction on the quality and variety of problem statements released today.
Background Information and Methodology of Hackathon
June 18, 2020 (N. delhi)The Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated and flagged off India's first I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for Covid testing in rural and inaccessible areas of India, here today. Secretary, Department of Biotechnology Dr. Renu Swarup and other officials were present on the occasion. Dr. Jitendar Sharma, CEO, Andhra Med Tech Zone CEO, and senior officials from NITI Ayog, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, MeiTY, other ministries, ICMR, DST, CSIR etc joined the function through web online.
Expressing his happiness to launch the I-Lab, infectious disease diagnostic laboratory-a mobile testing facility, Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicated this facility to provide Covid testing access to rural India. This mobile testing facility will be deployed through the DBT testing hubs to remote regions of the country for Covid testing. He congratulated and appreciated the efforts of the DBT in tackling the Covid pandemic, and added that DBT coordinated in scaling-up testing for Covid by reorienting premiere laboratories as Covid testing centers in a hub and spoke model. There are now over 20 hubs in the country with 100 testing laboratories and these have tested more than 2,60,000 samples.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, "This has been possible through the DBT-AMTZ COVID Command Consortia (COVID Medtech Manufacturing Development] Consortia)" to cope-up with the current situation in the country and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency. The I-lab will be deployed through these hubs into remote and interior places". The Minister appreciated the "Andhra med-tech zone team for building this unique, innovative facility for the country at the period of lock-down through tireless, dedicated and committed efforts". He informed that AMTZ through the support of DBT has also established manufacturing facility for indigenous manufacturing of kits and reagents for various testing kits which were initially imported thereby helping us realise the vision of Pradhan mantriji on- Make-in India, Make for India". He pointed out that today there are 953 testing laboratories in all corners of the country and elaborated on "Various steps taken by the ministry and departments towards achieving research components indigenization and their in-house manufacturing." Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasised that "In the near future with all these collective and cooperative efforts, India will achieve self-sufficiency in healthcare technologies leading towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat."
Dr. Renu Swarup said on the occasion that through the concerted efforts Indian scientists, the country has achieved a capacity of producing nearly 5 lakh testing kits per day, exceeding the target of having one lakh test kits by May 31, 2020. She pointed out that this I-Lab has been created in a record time of 8 days by the Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone team with the support of DBT under the National Biopharma Mission being implemented by the Public Sector BIRAC. She highlighted that the unit has biosafety facility and is capable of performing RT-PCR as well as ELISA tests.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology along with Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone (AMTZ) has initiated the DBT-AMTZ COMManD [COVID Medtech Manufacturing Development] Consortia to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.
Under this Consortia, India's first I- lab (infectious disease diagnostic lab) has been built at AMTZ in record time of 8 days from the date of receipt of Automotive Chassis, from Bharat Benz. This is a mobile diagnostic unit with biosafety facility. The I- lab is a BSL-2 facility with on-site ELISA, RT-PCR, Bio chemistry analysers. It can run 50 RT-PCR reactions and about 200 ELISA in a day.Double set of Machines can help increase the capacity to about 500 per day in 8 hours shift.It can be deployed in remote areas and can be lifted from Automotive Chassis and can be put on goods train for sending to any location in the country.The BSL-2 Lab is as per NABL specifications and is being attached to DBT's certified Testing centres.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science & Technology, promotes and accelerates the development of biotechnology in India, including growth and application of biotechnology in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment and industry.
AMTZ is Asia's first medical equipment manufacturing ecosystem, uniquely dedicated for Medtech and supported by various Ministries.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY (I-LAB)
June 13, 2020 (N. Delhi)
A CSIR National Healthcare Supply Chain Portal that aims to provide real-time availability of critical healthcare supplies https://www.aarogyapath.in has been launched on June 12,2020. AarogyaPath would serve manufacturers, suppliers and customers. During the present national health emergency arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, where in there is severe disruption in supply chain,the ability to produce and deliver the critical items may be compromised due to a variety of reasons. The information platform named AarogyaPath with a vision of "providing a path which leads one on a journey towards Aarogya (healthy life)" was developed to address these challenges.
This integrated public platform that provides single-point availability of key healthcare goodscan be helpful to customers in tackling a number of routinely experienced issues. These issues include dependence on limited suppliers, time-consuming processes to identify good quality products, limited access to suppliers who can supply standardized products at reasonable prices within desired timelines, lack of awareness about the latest product launches, etc.
It also helps manufacturers and suppliers to reach a wide network of customers efficiently, overcoming gaps in connectivity between them and potential demand centers like nearby pathological laboratories, medical stores, hospitals, etc. It will also create opportunities for business expansion due to an expanded slate of buyers and visibility of new requirements for products. Over time, analytics from this platform is expected to generate early signals to manufacturers on over capacity as well as on looming shortages. This would help to reduce wastage of resources due to inefficient forecasting and excess manufacturing, generate awareness about the demand for new technologies.
CSIR expects AarogyaPath to become the national healthcare information platform of choice in the years to come, filling a critical gap in last-mile delivery of patient care within India through improved availability and affordability of healthcare supplies.
It was launched by Shri Rajesh Bhushan Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in presence of DG CSIR, Dr Shekhar C. Mande. Shri Sudhir Garg Joint Secretary, Ministry of MSME and Dr. Vijay Chauthiawale Pharma Sector Expert were guests of honour at this event. Dr Shekhar Mande complemented the CSIR team involved in development of the portal, which was led by Dr Anjan Ray, Director CSIR-IIP. The portal was developed in partnership with Sarvodaya Infotech and institutional users and manufacturers / authorized suppliers of healthcare essentials are encouraged to register and participate actively.
June 8, 2020 (N. Delhi)
The proposed clinical trial is aimed to assess the safety, tolerability and exposure of the compound in humans along with the early efficacy indicators in pancreatic cancer patients
CSIR constituent lab CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu, has received Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from New Drugs Division of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for a potent anti-cancer, New Chemical Entity (NCE) effective against pancreatic cancer after successful completion of preclinical development and IND submission.
This will pave way for CSIR- IIIM for conducting the clinical trial of this important drug candidate IIIM-290 in pancreatic cancer patients. The proposed clinical trial is aimed to assess the safety, tolerability and exposure of the compound in humans along with the early efficacy indicators in pancreatic cancer patients. This drug was discovered and developed at the natural-products driven drug discovery programme of CSIR-IIIM.
Dr Shekhar Mande, DG, CSIR complemented the team of scientists Sandip Bharate, Sonali Bharate, Dilip Mondhe, Shashi Bhushan and Sumit Gandhi who were led by Dr Ram Vishwakarma, Director, CSIR-IIIM, on this significant milestone. They conducted close to a decade of high-end research as a prelude to grant of regulatory approval for clinical trials against pancreatic cancer.
Dr Ram Vishwakarma, highlighting the R&D carried out, informed that the anti-cancer screening against NCI-60 cancer cell lines panel and clinically validated protein kinase enzymes involved in cancer provided in 2011, provided an initial potent hit (rohitukine, a pure molecule natural product from the leaves of a tree from the Western Ghats Dysoxylum binectariferum,commonly known as Indian white cedar). Further medicinal chemistry designed to address efficacy/selectivity against a class of cell-cycle regulatory kinases (i.e. cyclin-dependent kinases) identified this preclinical candidate IIIM-290 showing excellent pharmacokinetics, oral bioavailability and potent anticancer activity in a number of animal xenograft models, with the best activity against the pancreatic cancer model.
In the last three years, researchers completed all the preclinical safety, regulatory and other IND enabling studies, obtained global patents and published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 2018.
Pertinently, pancreatic cancer currently ranks 12th among most common cancers in the world but has the notorious distinction of being the 4th leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The incidence of pancreatic cancer in India is 0.5?2.4 per 100,000 men and 0.2?1.8 per 100,000 women.
Globally, it causes more than a quarter of a million deaths annually. This cancer is considered as one of the untreatable cancer types, because of its very late diagnosis and therefore there is a huge scarcity of drugs for the treatment of this cancer. This indigenous drug discovery program based on natural products opens potential therapeutic options for pancreatic cancer.
NewsDr. Harsh Vardhan calls for public participation in formula..
August 28, 2020
Union Minister for Science &Technology, Earth Sciences, Health& Family Welfare Dr.Harsh Vardhan today invited stakeholders and the public at large in the country and abroad to participate in formulating an evidence-driven, inclusive Science Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020) for the country. He said that it would bring about technology indigenization to become self-reliant, mainstream traditional knowledge systems with conventional R&D, strengthen industry-academia, government interconnectedness and promote equity.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan was speaking at the inauguration of 'In Conversation With' - a series of exclusive interactions with thought leaders from across the country and Indian Diaspora on STIP 2020, which is being formulated. He also launched the 'STIP 2020 Page on MyGov Portal' along with 'popularization Quiz for school children' on 28th August 2020 in a virtual event here.
In his address, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the entire STI ecosystem has undergone rapid transformation in terms of relevance, scope, and scale in the recent years. These must be captured into a policy to develop a long development trajectory and vision for the country. Moreover, COVID-19 has introduced some new learning and added dimensions to the STI system, he added.
Stating that "Achieving an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' would need greater focus on the development of indigenous technologies and encouragement to grass root level innovation", the Minister emphasized that "There is an emergence of disruptive and impactful technologies and the country must take advantage of this".
Dr. Harsh Vardhan outlined, "The proposed STI policy is expected to leverage the astounding progress that the STI system has witnessed in recent years and build a long term pathway which must be able to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of millions of young Indian scientists and students". "This can be done only when we make policy formulation totally inclusive and participatory", he stressed.
Elucidating the policy formulation process, the Minister pointed out that "The STIP-2020 process has been divided into 4 interlinked tracks of actions. Track-I involves extended public and expert consultation with 6 activities which aim to reach out to India's every citizen living in any part of the country to get their ideas, suggestions, or comments for the policy. Track-II action relates to expert consultation, Track-III is for consultation with Ministries and States/UTs, and Track-IV comprises of apex level consultation and advice."
DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma highlighted, "As India and the world reorient in the present context of the COVID-19 crisis, a landmark policy initiative STIP 2020 has been initiated at this crucial juncture". "The formulation process, by design, is envisioned as an inclusive and participative model with interconnectedness among different tracks of activities", he added.
Later, in a discussion moderated by DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Dr. Harsh Vardhan took up a host of questions on STI ecosystem and STI Policy related issues. The participants too asked questions through live webex platform. He took innovative suggestions from them. Suggestions emerging from these discussions will serve as inputs to the STIP2020 policy process.
Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head - Policy Planning; Mr. Abhishek Singh, CEO, MyGov; Mr. Aditya Kaushik, Co-Founder, Science Policy Forum; Dr. Rabindra Panigrahy, DST Scientist; Dr. Nimita Pandey, DST - STI Policy Fellow; Dr. ChagunBasha, Senior Technical Specialist, Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India; were among various dignitaries who joined the function virtually.
August 21, 2020
The COVID 19 pandemic has thrown up the novel challenge of setting up rapid diagnostic facilities in remote areas which do not have adequate infrastructure. This calls for low cost devices that do not require very stringent storage facilities. Scientists have put in a research plan to meet this urgent requirement.
With support from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, has initiated a research with the detection of a target protein using bioinformatics tool against which the diagnostic kit has to be developed. This study has taken the special domain of spike protein in consideration for the development of the diagnostic kit.
The researchers are developing an aptamer-based diagnostic kit for detection of SARS-Co-V2 infection. Their study will first ensure the detection of corona virus infection while subsequently, the kit will also differentiate the various types of corona virus infection (SARS Co-V1, MERS) including COVID 19 infection. The general corona virus infection may be detected on the basis of conserved domain present in all three corona virus infection (SARS Co-V1, MERS & COVID 19) while the differential kit will be developed on the basis of combination of conserved and non-conserved domain present in SARS-CoV2 virus, SARS-CoV2 virus & MERS virus respectively.
Armed with state-of-art expertise in molecular biology and drug delivery domain, Dr. Abhimanyu Dev, Assistant Professor at Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra (BIT Mesra) Ranchi, has teamed up with Dr. Venkatesan Jayaprakash, Associate Professor of the same Institute to carry out this research. The development of the diagnostic kit will be done at Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra lab while testing of kit will be conducted at Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar under supervision of Dr. Rajeeb Kumar Swain, Scientist E, ILS Bhubaneswar.
The aptamer-based technology is a relatively new technique. It can detect a number of infections in precise & efficient manner. Besides, it makes detection of COVID 19 infection less costly and the devices can be stored in less stringent conditions, making it more effective over conventional antibody-based detection techniques, especially for the rural and remotely located population. The detection of other corona virus infection (SARS-Co-V1 & MERS) will also be an added advantage of our research.
This kit also has the advantage of detecting corona virus infection in very less time as it will be a rapid diagnostic kit for detection based on the change in colour. Further, the kit will be less costly in comparison to antibody-based detection technique due to low production cost and requirement of the less stringent storage facility.
August 20, 2020
Researchers interested in translational research on Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) now have a major opportunity to accelerate and mature their technology and research activities as solutions to the growing problem of global climate change.
CCUS is one of the identified innovation challenges in the Mission Innovation (MI) Programme, a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union to accelerate the global clean energy innovation in which the Department of Science & Technology (DST) is an active partner. The DST has already funded 19 R&D projects in the area of CCUS under the MI umbrella, partnering with 13 MI countries.
Currently, the DST has invited proposals from Indian researchers in the area of CCUS under Accelerating CCUS Technologies (ACT) in collaboration with other ACT member countries. This is an initiative to facilitate the emergence of CO2 Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) via translational funding of projects aimed at accelerating and maturing CCUS technology through targeted innovation and research activities. Sixteen countries, regions, and provinces are working together in ACT with the ambition to fund world-class RD&D innovation that can lead to safe and cost-effective CCUS technology.
ACT is seeking innovative projects that range from smaller research projects to new or already existing pilot and demonstration facility sites. New pilot and demonstration facilities should have potential for upscaling to industrial size either in a demo phase or early commercial phase. Each project proposal has to be submitted by a project consortium consisting of at least three eligible applicants funded by at least three countries/regions participating in this ACT call. Each project's consortium must have the required expertise to undertake research and development within the specified themes.
The 15 ACT member countries and organizations have decided to participate in this third call and joined forces with each other. All funds will be allocated from national and regional budgets that support research and development as well as pilot and demonstration projects.
The ACT call is a two-stage process. Stage 1 invites pre-proposals, and Stage 2 invites full project proposals. The call for pre-proposals is open until 10th November 2020. By or on 10th December 2020, applicants that are successful in Stage 1 will be invited to enter Stage 2 of the procedure. The call for full proposals will close on 15th March 2021. The targeted start date for projects is end of September 2021.
The intention of ACT is to facilitate the emergence of CCUS by accelerating and maturing CCUS technology through targeted financing of innovation and research activities. ACT will address the technological, environmental, social, and economic challenges required to accelerate CCUS. Projects that incorporate or address the Priority Research Directions (PRDs, link) identified at the Mission Innovation CCUS Challenge Workshop (Houston 2017) will be particularly welcome.
To date, there have been two ACT calls, the first (in 2016), which mobilised funds from participating partners and the European Commission, and the second call (in 2018) was funded by participating national funding agencies only.
August 19, 2020
Start-ups are the initiative to bring innovation in mainstream. The action plan is to focus on simplification and handholding. Another important aspect of start-ups is industry-academia partnership and incubation. Looking at these aspects National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL) joined hands to establish an Innovation cum Incubation Centre with external private funding to promote start-ups in the emerging area of Aerospace technologies.
Under this program start-ups in the area of Aerospace engineering would be incubated, mentored and supported for product and prototype development and their validation. "It is a historical day as NRDC and CSIR-NAL forged an innovative partnership to promote Start-ups in the niche high tech area of Aerospace engineering and this partnership may pave a way for establishing Innovation cum Incubation Centres in other CSIR laboratories which are working in different thematic areas" said Dr. H. Purushotham, Chief Managing Director, NRDC. He also said that this partnership will help to create employment opportunities to the youth of our country as it is the need of the hour.
The agreement was signed by Dr. H. Purushotham and Dr. Jitendra J. Jadhav, Director, CSIR-NAL and was exchanged by the representatives of both the organisations in the presence of Dr. Shekhar C Mande, Secretary Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and Director General CSIR, Shri R Vaidheeswaran, Joint Secretary, DSIR and other senior officials of CSIR and NAL at CSIR Head Quarters, New Delhi.
August 19, 2020
The COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted the need to set up systems to improve health infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. Portable hospitals for detecting, screening, identifying, isolating, and treating COVID-19 patients in local communities could soon be a solution to tackle the increasing demands for health infrastructure.
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India in collaboration with 'Modulus Housing' a start-up incubated by IIT Madras has come up with a solution using decentralised approach to detect, manage and treat COVID-19 patients in local communities through portable microstructures.
Mr. Subhash NN and Mr. Muraleedharan CV, scientists from SCTIMST along with Mr. Shreeram Ravichandran, Chief Executive Officer, Modulus Housing including his associates have developed the portable microstructure named as "MediCAB", which is modular, portable, durable, easy to set up and can be customised as per the requirements of the customer. It is foldable and is composed of four zones ? a doctor's room, an isolation room, a medical room/ward, and a twin-bed ICU, maintained at negative pressure. It can be easily transported and installed anywhere in geographic locations and can be erected in just two hours with the help of four persons. The cabins in the MediCAB are tightly sealed and are dust-proof. It has in-built electricals, which are just plug-n-play. MediCAB can withstand harsh weather and heavy rains as well.
It comes equipped with a prefabrication modular technology and a telescopic frame that allows the model to be shrunk to 1/5th of its original size, which makes it convenient for storage and transportation. These portable units come in three sizes ? 200, 400, and 800 sqft. The units can be installed at the car parking or at the terrace of the hospital according to the needs or availability of space at the facility.
As of now, a 30 bedded hospital at a cost of 34 lakhs (INR) at Chengalpet, Chennai at SugaHhealthcorp Private Corporation, and another 12 bedded hospital in Waynad, Kerala at a cost of Rs 16 Lakh at Primary Health Care, Varadoor- Govt. Organisation have been successfully installed as four-zone hospitals.
The team of Modulus Housing says that it is working on a dual design where these mobile hospitals can be rapidly launched as COVID-19 isolation wards. Modulus housing has delivered emergency housing solutions to prestigious clients across sectors such as L&T, Tata Group, and Shapoorji, Selco, during flooding. The Union Human Resources Ministry has lauded the effort on their social media platform.
"Foldable, portable, pre-fab hospitals that are easy to assemble on-site quickly provide a compelling solution to effectively addressing the needs of pandemics, disasters, and other contingencies," said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.
August 18, 2020
Eight binational teams consisting of researchers from India and the US have received awards to pursue cutting-edge research in pathogenesis and disease management of COVID-19 through Indo-US virtual networks. The areas of research they will pursue include antiviral coatings, immune modulation, tracking SARS CoV-2 in wastewater, disease detection mechanisms, reverse genetics strategies, and drug repurposing.
The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) announced the awards to eight binational teams, consisting of leading researchers from India and U.S for COVID-19 Indo-U.S. Virtual Networks in support of the efforts of the medical and scientific community to find solutions to the COVID 19 pandemic and emerging global challenges. The IUSSTF is an autonomous bilateral organization jointly funded by the Governments of India and the US that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation through substantive interaction among government, academia and industry. The Department of Science & Technology, Governments of India and the U.S. Department of States are respective nodal departments.
The eight teams are among the best few who had submitted proposals in response to an invitation of proposals to harness the combined expertise of the Indian and U.S. Science & Technology communities, facilitate partnerships between teams of Indian and U.S. scientists and engineers currently engaged in COVID-related research, and leverage existing infrastructure from both countries to further advance the research and accelerate progress.
Following a rigorous binational peer-review process, these eight teams will be pursuing cutting-edge research in areas that include studies on pathogenesis and disease management in COVID-19, antiviral coatings, immune modulation, tracking SARS CoV-2 in wastewater, disease detection mechanisms, reverse genetics strategies, and drug repurposing.
Congratulating the teams, the Co-Chairs of the bilateral IUSSTF highlighted the importance of the US-India partnership. Professor Ashutosh Sharma , Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and IUSSTF India Co-Chair said, "an overwhelming response in a short time to the special call on COVID-19 demonstrates a wide spectrum of cooperation between India and USA from the basic studies on the behavior of SARS-Cov-2 virus to its transmission to diagnostics and therapeutic approaches. Our existing strong cooperation in S&T on health, energy, artificial intelligence and so on. also continues to bring value and attests to the importance of Indo-US collaborations in providing compelling solutions."
Dr. Jonathan Margolis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space and Health, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and IUSSTF U.S. Co-Chair remarked, "we are pleased that the United States and India were able to quickly mobilize, through IUSSTF, to support jointly developed innovations to fight COVID-19. Our people and economies both rely on science and technology to identify tools to address the pressing challenges of the current pandemic".
Global challenges call for global collaborations and partnerships, a shared vision bringing together the best and brightest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to work together to find solutions, not only to address the current pandemic, but also for the challenges that lie ahead. "Through the sharing of expertise across scientific communities and geographic boundaries, the Indo-US Virtual networks will enable breakthroughs, leading to the development of innovative and transformative solutions to combat this pandemic", said Dr. Nandini Kannan, Executive Director IUSSTF.The mission of the binational Indo-US Science and Technology Forum is to act as a catalyst to promote long-term scientific collaborations between India and the United States through partnerships amongst individual scientists, scientific institutions, and the scientific community at large.
August 14, 2020
World Health Organisation (WHO)'s reports show that the worsening state of poor air quality is responsible for more than 7.5 million fatalities worldwide annually. This highlights the necessity for accurate, yet cost-effective monitoring of air quality parameters as monitoring is critical to solution. The current systems and technologies used for air quality monitoring are prohibitively expensive for wider deployment. This underlines the need for development of systems for real-time remote monitoring of relevant air quality parameters.
With the support from Department of Science and Technology's Clean Air Research Initiative, Prof. Rao Tatavarti, Director of Gayatri Vidya Parishad-Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (GVP-SIRC) & GVP College of Engineering, Visakhapatnam, has developed an indigenous photonic system for real-time remote monitoring of air quality parameters. Prof Tatavarti was supported by Prof. P. Arulmozhivarman from the School of Electrical Engineering, VIT University, Vellore, and other team members. The system titled AUM (Air Unique-quality Monitoring) had CATS Eco-Systems, Nashik as the technology transfer partner for commercialization.
The AUM system (patent pending) is an innovative application of the principles of laser backscattering, statistical mechanics, optoelectronics, artificial intelligence, machine/deep learning, and Internet of Things. It can identify, classify, and quantify various pollutants simultaneously (of orders of less than one part per billion) and meteorological parameters, with very high precision, sensitivity and accuracy.
AUM was successfully evaluated during laboratory trials with gold standards (in collaboration with EffecTech, UK), and also compared in the field with imported systems from France, and Australia and operated by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board under the aegis of the Central Pollution Control Board of India.
It has been found to be highly sensitive and accurate and capable of simultaneous detection and quantification of all air quality parameters and offers a number of merits over any of the currently available conventional systems. It is portable, compact, low powered and economical, works on plug and play system, requires no setting uptime, and no additional civil infrastructure for housing. It provides information on all gases and meteorological parameters simultaneously. It is a non-intrusive remote, real-time monitoring system with very high sensitivities and accuracies and is capable of monitoring in both spatial and temporal domains, with very high sampling frequencies. Also, the data from spatially separated sensors can be seamlessly streamed to a cloud server, from where digestible real-time encrypted information on dashboard is made available to user at any part of the world.
This system can boost the nation's efforts towards self-reliance in high-end technologies and can additionally be instrumental in supporting the endeavours in improving the nation's health and economy.
August 11, 2020 (N. Delhi)
Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Professor Ashutosh Sharma, has emphasised that the future is all about convergence of digital technologies and that COVID 19 virus has provided the country opportunity to be part of the change rather than resisting it. Professor Sharmawas speaking at webinar on Digital Transformation in COVID-19.
"Use of digital technologies and machines can take the country to new heights and fulfil the dream of our Prime Minister of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'," Professor Sharma pointed out. He added that data is the new Mantra, and we must value data to use it for our progress at the webinar organised by the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE).
Professor Sharma explained that future has been coming to us at a fast pace even before the COVID-19, but the virus has changed everything. It has disrupted every sector and every life beyond imagination. Its? impact is on all aspects-- whether it is availability of labour, supply chains, or logistics. However, the more disruptive the challenge, the bigger will be the achievement, and this is a very good time to think where we are and where we want to be.
He elucidated that several opportunities have been created in digital, cyber digital areas. "With the youth power we have, this is a great opportunity for all stakeholders to use it to enlarge the scope of business and to reach more people," Prof. Ashutosh Sharma stressed.
The pandemic has created pressures on the business environment, necessitating the adoption of technology and digitalization. Companies across sectors are accelerating investments in Digital Technologies to meet business requirements. SCOPE conducted the Webinar to discuss how various sectors can leverage Digital to operate in the new business environment.
The topics in the webinar included digital economy in COVID, digital disruptions & impact on key sectors, emerging digital themes in the wake of COVID-19, and realigning digital priorities.
The speakers included S.M.Vaidya, Chairman, IOC, Rakesh Kumar, CMD, NLC & Chairman, SCOPE, Sushant Rabra, Partner, KPMG India, and Manas Majumdar, Partner, KPMG India.