Development of database on all kinds of influenza will help researchers in tackling the spread of deadly coronavirus across the world

Union Minister for Science and Technology, Health & Family Welfare and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday launched the largest network of five dedicated Covid-19 bio-repositories.

Developed by Department of Biotechnology, these bio-repositories include 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.

Earlier, Dr Harsh Vardhan also announced the successful completion of PAN-India 1000 Genome sequencing of SARS- CoV-2.

Speaking on the occasion, he 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 the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) for use by researchers across the world”.

He also said that 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.”

The Union Minister further pointed out that data analysis, which is ongoing (process), 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 III trial, Zydus Cadila DNA Vaccine is in phase I / II trial and 4 Vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of pre-clinical study”.

Besides, 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.