Top Indian scientists join global fight against virus

Hindustan Times Delhi|March 30, 2020

Top Indian scientists join global fight against virus
PANDEMIC Till vaccine emerges, social distancing the only option to control disease: Experts
Jayashree Nandi

NEW DELHI: India’s top research organisations are taking the Covid-19 challenge head on, with the Indian Institute of Science, the National Institute of Immunology, and the Translational Health Science Technology Institute, among others, working on vaccine development and therapeutics.

The National Institute of Immunology in Delhi will sequence the virus to see whether the one infecting travellers from different parts of the world is the same or has undergone changes.

“The virus changes. By the time you may develop a vaccine it could have changed form. It’s important for us to understand how its changing. First is to see if people who have travelled from Italy, Germany, China, US, etc are infected with the same strain. That can happen through ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing. We saw such mutations during the H1N1 outbreak,” said AmulyaK Panda, director, National Institute of Immunology (NIJ). NIT is also studying what protein the virus is made up of— something which will be crucial to vaccine development.

The team will also analyse blood samples (once they have access) of some of the 46 people who have recovered, to analyse antibodies that protected them.

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March 30, 2020