Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' today felicitated the team of scientists from IIT Delhi involved in the development of COVID 19 probe - free Real-time PCR Diagnostic Kit. Secretary, MHRD, Amit Khare; Additional Secretary, MHRD Rakesh Sarwal; Director, IIT Delhi, Ramgopal Rao and a team of Scientists of IIT Delhi led by Prof. Vivekananad Perumal and Prof. Manoj Menon were present in the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion the HRD Minister said that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Scientists, students and researchers to come forward to combat COVID 19 and in response to this clarion call, all the premier institutions under HRD Ministry came to the forefront and have done a commendable work and are contributing to their best in order to combat the situation arising of COVID-19.
Pokhriyal has said that our Prime Minister always hopes that we should develop our own strengths and we should not be dependent on the world. So, keeping in view the capability and high standards of research of our Institutes especially IITs, meetings were held with IITs from the very beginning of the onset of pandemic, to step up their research and innovation initiatives wrt Covid 19.
While felicitating the team of scientists, Pokhriyal said that the Ministry of HRD is extremely proud of its all institutions, researchers, academicians, faculty members and students who are working tirelessly in the time of complete lockdown, to bring out solutions to the problems arising out of outbreak of Covid 19 and which are being faced not only within the country but by the entire humanity.
The Minister appreciated the efforts of IIT Delhi in developing a testing kit at an exceptionally low cost for the people of India. The kit will not only empower healthcare services but also support the government in the time of crisis. He congratulated the Researchers of IIT Delhi Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS), who have developed a detection assay for COVID-19 which has now been approved by ICMR. He was delighted to know that the assay has been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. This makes IITD the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay.
Pokhriyal highlighted that the Ministry of HRD will provide all possible to the institutions for their research initiatives. He said that the project like these are in line with Make in India initiative of the Government. Pokhriyal also thanked Union health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan for the efforts of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in validating the technology and research.
Ramgopal Rao informed the Minister that this is the first probe-free assay for COVID-19 approved by ICMR and it will be useful for specific and affordable high throughput testing. This assay can be easily scaled up as it does not require fluorescent probes. The team is targeting large scale deployment of the kit at affordable prices with suitable industrial partners as soon as possible.
The Research team includes Prashant Pradhan (PhD Scholar), Ashutosh Pandey (PhD Scholar), Praveen Tripathi (PhD Scholar), Dr. Akhilesh Mishra, Dr. Parul Gupta, Dr. Sonam Dhamija, Prof. Vivekanandan Perumal, Prof. Manoj B. Menon, Prof. Bishwajit Kundu, Prof. James Gomes of IIT Delhi.