Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), a Hyderabad-based constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is gearing up to get into sample testing for coronavirus even as the institute approached the state government to provide a virologist, its Director Dr S Chandrasekhar said on Thursday.
Sources in the IICT also indicated that the institution is also in the process of developing a testing kit for the killer virus.
"We were approached by the Department of Biotechnology and ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) whether we could also do the testing because all the CSIR labs have the capability. So we wrote them saying that we can do (the testing) provided we will be given inactivated samples. Because IICT doesn't have the BSL3 facility (biosafety level- III)," Chandrasekhar told reporters.
He said that though the IICT has some microbiologists, they need to undergo training for the COVID-19 testing and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is providing them necessary skills.
A senior official of the institute said the organisation is also working on developing alternative active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for remdesivir, an antiviral medication developed by the American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.
"We are in constant touch with major Indian pharma companies on the alternative to remdesivir," the official said.
Meanwhile, University of Hyderabad (UoH) in a press release said it has been selected as a testing centre to scale up the testing capacity for COVID-19, as part of the many Centres established by Research Institutes and Laboratories of Government Ministries and Departments, Universities, IITs, IISERs, and other Institutes of Eminence under the State government and the Centre.
The UoH will be carrying out these tests in a separate BSL-2 laboratory at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD).
It has identified about 15 technical personnel from the School of Life Science, UoH for data entry, sample sorting, aliquoting and coordination with other testing labs, the varsity said on Wednesday....