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Govt offers funding for developing diagnostics, vaccines for Covid-19

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on March 24, 2020

The Department of Biotechnology along with the government company, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), has called for proposals from the industry to develop “diagnostics, vaccines, novel therapeutics, repurposing of drugs or any other intervention” for the control of Covid-19.

In calling for research proposals, the government has used the word “emergency” to describe the situation caused by the coronavirus.

“Research is an important integral component of the response to be able to identify key knowledge gaps and research priorities, and thereby accelerate the generation of critical scientific information and the most needed medical products to contribute to the control of 2019-nCoV emergency,” says the RFP document.

The government will fund the programme. “Grant-in-aid- assistance will depend on the proposed activities,” the document says. “Depending on the scope of activities and the applicant, the funding will be made available” through various schemes of the government.

The document says that the projects submitted must take into account the criteria for affordability, widespread adoption and have a realistic possibility for scaling up. The research projects should necessarily have a “product development component”, i.e., it should not be merely a theoretical project. Also, the proposal should have scope for commercialisation.

“In view of the limited current level of knowledge about the new virus, critical research questions need to be answered urgently, and ways have to be found to fund priority research that can contribute to curtail this outbreak and prepare for future outbreaks,” the RFP document says.

Urgent need to develop safe and effective countermeasures that can be available, accessible and suitable for use in populations most in need.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 2 pm of March 30. Those interested should get in touch with Artee at inv03@birac.nic.in

Published on March 24, 2020

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