Science

Covid-19: Centre to offer funding for respiratory viral infections research

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on March 20, 2020 Published on March 20, 2020

Magnified image of Covid-19 virus

SERB’s special research scheme will clear projects on high-priority basis

In a move that would expedite national research efforts on new antivirals, vaccines and affordable diagnostics in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre has decided to call for research proposals on a war-footing through a special research scheme.

The Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), the premier body for funding R&D in the country, has given a special call under the Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas (IRHPA) scheme.

“Now, Indian scientists have to rise to the occasion and elevate their output for a national/global level,” a top SERB official told BusinessLine. The projects will be decided on a ‘need basis’ and there will not be any restriction on the size of the financial assistance if the projects are good, he said.

According to the SERB official, academic and research institutions with strong interdisciplinary links with chemists, biologists, virologists, immunologists and clinicians can apply for the IRHPA funding. The grants will be for a duration of three years, and applications can be sent till March 30.

Focus areas

These groups will be working in a few identified areas. These include new or re-purposed antivirals against valid viral targets and virucidal coatings, affordable diagnostics for symptomatic and asymptomatic respiratory viral infections, new vaccines against respiratory viruses, development of disease models for respiratory viral infections, studies on immune response and immunity during respiratory viral infections and epidemiology of Covid-19 and other respiratory viral infections.

At least one of the participating institutions should have access to BSL-3 (Biosafety Level-3) facilities, apart from having expertise in handling respiratory viruses per the protocols set by the WHO or Government of India.

Published on March 20, 2020
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