There is still a need to find answers to many key scientific questions pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic, which have not been addressed so far, according to Vinay K Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

“Significant and rapid progress has been made primarily driven by our quest and need to tackle the pandemic. However, many unanswered scientific questions need to be investigated in depth,’‘ Nandicoori told BusinessLine.

He added that areas such as the nature of long Covid, nature of clinical response variations, microbiota, and its correlation with nutrition, among others, are yet to be studied. These are required to deepen our understanding.

“Science is not going to stop its work. HIV had come long ago; we still have research papers coming. Likewise, work on Covid needs to continue. Sequencing has become a huge tool in which India has done great work,’‘ the CCMB Director said.

About the continuation of Covid, the scientist said India still seems to be in the Omicron phase, and there is “nothing alarming’‘ as of now as most Indians appear to have developed hybrid immunity.

However, the immune system will not constantly produce antibodies- he added that there is a need for periodic booster doses.

CCMB’s Contribution

The CCMB has been contributing to the battle against the pandemic since its onset in 2020. It developed diagnostic tools and tested about 70 to 80 molecules besides developing an mRNA vaccine.

“We have done a lot of work on Covid, and we actually proved along with other CSIR Institutes that it can spread through aerosolic particles. We have sequenced a good number of samples. We continue to participate in sequencing efforts,’‘ Nandicoori said.

The premier research body is also engaged in key research beyond Covid.

“There is much to be done on other diseases like Tuberculosis (TB) and its pathogen, other viral diseases, the parasite that causes malaria, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR),’‘ the Director added.

In addition, CCMB continues to work on many other areas such as animal and plant conservation, structural, plant, genome, and infectious disease biology.

A team of scientists from the Centre had recently found eight novel genes which can impact male fertility.