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Indo-US virtual networks created to address COVID-19 challenges

The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), has invited proposals for ‘COVID-19 Indo-U.S. Virtual Networks’ will allow scientists and engineers from India and the United States currently engaged in COVID-related research to carry out joint research activities through virtual mechanisms.

This would leverage existing infrastructure and funding, a press release stated.

Global challenges call for global collaborations and partnerships, bringing together the best 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.

Science in the time of COVID-19 is globally bringing to the fore such elements as effective communication, need-recognition, collaboration, speed, translational and tech aspects, transparency, accountability, societal benefits, and general zeal for problem-solving.

Effective solutions that emerge are likely to be transnational. IUSSTF has had a history of developing relevant technologies through strong collaborations and is thus a good platform for the activity being launched, the release said.

As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that science and technology communities work together and share resources to address this global challenge. Science, engineering, and technology will play a critical role in finding solutions through the development of new vaccines, devices, diagnostic tools, and information systems, as well as strategies to help communities and nations manage and deploy resources to combat this pandemic.

Collaboration across nations and organisations can leverage and share expertise across science and technology communities and facilitate the development of a diverse, globally-engaged science, engineering, and technology-abled workforce, which can proactively work towards solutions for the pandemic. Applications will be accepted online from 15 April 2020 and till 15 May 2020

IUSSFT is boosting these collaborations in keeping with its core mandate to catalyse collaborative initiatives across both countries.

The IUSSTF established under an agreement between the governments of India and the United States of America in March 2000 is an autonomous bilateral organisation jointly funded by both the countries.

The organisation promotes science, technology, engineering, and innovation through substantive interaction among government, academia, and industry. The Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the U.S. Department of State are respective nodal departments.

DST has funded a startup to develops kits for testing asymptomatic COVID-19 infections. It has also geared up for vaccine production, as OpenGov reported earlier.

 

An institution of national importance under DST has received the official nod from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to explore innovative treatment to patients suffering from COVID-19 disease.

Technically called “convalescent-plasma therapy”, the institute is concentrating on finding ways to use immunity gained by a recovered patient to treat a sick person. When a pathogen, (like the novel coronavirus) infects a person, the immune system produces antibodies that identify and mark the invading virus.

White blood cells are deployed by the body against the intruding virus. The therapy seeks to harvest these antibodies from a recovered COVD-19 patient and release them into someone infected. The idea is that the new patients the immune system will get a boost from the introduced antibodies and fight the virus.

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