IICT gears up for COVID-19 testing; seeks virologist from T'gana govt

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IICT gears up for COVID-19 testing; seeks virologist from T'gana govt
Hyderabad, Apr 24 (): Indian Institute of ChemicalTechnology (IICT), a city-based constituent laboratory ofCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), isgearing up to get into sample testing for coronavirus even asthe institute approached the state government to provide avirologist, its Director Dr S Chandrasekhar said on Thursday.

Sources in the IICT also indicated that theprestigious institution is also in the process of developing atesting kit for the killer virus.

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"We were approached by the Department of Biotechnologyand ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) whether we couldalso do the testing because all the CSIR labs have thecapability. So we wrote them saying that we can do (thetesting) provided we will be given inactivated samples.Because IICT doesnt have the BSL3 facility (biosafety level-III)," Chandrasekhar told P T I.

He said though the IICT has some microbiologists, theyneed to undergo training for the COVI-19 testing and Centrefor Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is providing themnecessary skills.

A senior official of the institute said theorganisation is also working on developing alternative activepharmaceutical ingredient (API) for remdesivir, an antiviralmedication developed by the American biopharmaceutical companyGilead Sciences.

"We are in constant touch with major Indian pharmacompanies on the alternative to remdesivir," the officialsaid.

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Meanwhile, University of Hyderabad (UoH) in a pressrelease said it has been selected as a testing centre to scaleup the testing capacity for COVID-19, as part of the manyCentres established by Research Institutes and Laboratories ofGovernment Ministries and Departments, Universities, IITs,IISERs, and other Institutes of Eminence under the Stategovernment and the Centre.

The UoH will be carrying out these tests in a separateBSL-2 laboratory at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting andDiagnostics (CDFD).

It has identified about 15 technical personnel fromthe School of Life Science, UoH for data entry, samplesorting, aliquoting and coordination with other testing labs,the varsity said on Wednesday. GDK
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