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How these innovative biotechnology solutions helped India strengthen its efforts to manage pandemics

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From testing, tracking, containment to overall pandemic management, technology has played a leading role in driving public health efforts during the outbreak of COVID-19. On the second day of the Bangalore Tech Summit 2020, an insightful panel discussion on biotechnology for managing pandemics will shed more light on this topic and harness the power of data and technology to create influential solutions. I emphasized the important case that I created.

Panel experts included Mohan Pandy, Vice President of Global Programs Office at Syngene International Limited. Dr. Chandrasekhar Nair, Founder and Director of Bigtec Labs and CTO of Molbio Diagnostics Pvt Ltd. Dr. Chitra Pataviraman, Indoor Alliance Early Career Fellow, NIMHANS; Dr. Manoi Gopara Krishnan, Associate Professor of IIT Bombay. The panel was moderated by Dr. Mahesh Bhalgat, CEO of Syngene International Limited.

While emphasizing the need to enable the Indian ecosystem to be self-reliant, some common themes that emerged from the debate are the need for technological convergence, the need to break silos and promote open data sharing. Discipline included sex, and more collaboration across industry and academia.

Here are some key points from the panelists’ talks on how these innovative approaches helped manage the COVID-19 pandemic:

Mohan Pandy-Proactive test

Dr. Pandey started the discussion by sharing Syngene’s approach to proactive testing. “Everyone was overwhelmed when the pandemic happened. But its realization will start very quickly and there will be more cases. We asked ourselves how to flatten the curve. So how can we manage it? Therefore, testing has become a fulcrum for the entire paradigm, “he said.

He shared that Syngene soon implemented a continuous surveillance system on its campus. “During the first 21 days of blockade, we managed to contain the kind of spread that would otherwise have happened. In Bangalore, the level of testing and tracking was staggering. Aggressively I had time to take action, share information and raise awareness. However, in late June and early July, the number of cases around Bangalore surged significantly. I realized that I needed to do more. . “

At the same time, he came across a treatise that hypothesized that the test would actually help control the outcome of the pandemic. It provided strong evidence that the more tests there are, the lower the mortality rate. “If there is a risk of increasing cases, we need to test, but we also need a more comprehensive approach for ourselves and the community.”

So Syngene set up a test lab to test over 55,000 samples for free across the community. Dr. Pandey added that he is focusing not only on testing for infections, but also on testing for immune response antibodies, and launched the kit on the market.

“In response to the surge in cases around us, we decided to implement a proactive testing program. Evidence is that if we employ preventive testing on a regular basis, we will be more than a pandemic of the population. You can see good control. ”Dr Chandra Shekar Nair – Global Point of Care Platform

Molbio Diagnostics’ Truelab Real Time Quantitative MicroPCR System is a global point-of-care platform used for molecular diagnostics, 20 years after manufacture and used before the pandemic. The platform can test 23 bizarre illnesses. “Our solution requires an easy-to-use, minimally trained person. It’s battery-powered and doesn’t rely on electricity. It doesn’t require a cold chain. It basically democratizes access to molecular testing.” Said Dr. Nair. The platform is versatile and can be used to test a wide variety of samples, from tuberculosis sputum samples to cotton swab samples, stool samples, and plasma samples.

Each device comes with a SIM card slot, which allows for automatic reporting and monitoring, and has a very long uptime. This platform is currently used in 32 countries. ..

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were ordered to deploy 5,500 devices and conduct 5.9 million tests nationwide, but so far we have deployed more than 1,000 of these devices. Helped run the ICMR-approved COVID-19 test. In addition, we deployed about 2,000 devices and conducted about 5 million tests on the platform so far. ”Dr Chitra Pattabhiraman — Genome analysis of the COVID 19 pandemic in Karnataka

“Did you investigate how the virus invaded Karnataka early in the pandemic? How did it spread? How did it change? Bangalore was in fairly good containment at that time. There were a total of 1,578 cases across the state. They were found to show pedigree from China, and asymptomatic and symptomatic people are distributed in all these strains. I also found that there was no difference in the method, “he said.

Dr. Pattabhiraman and her colleagues performed a cluster analysis and as part of the study, contact tracing was performed state-wide for all persons tested positive for COVID-19. They found that asymptomatic people usually tend to be in the center of the cluster, and symptomatic people have less connection. At this point in the pandemic, they found that most of the clusters were locally contained within a single district.

This helped them understand where to look. “We linked epidemiological data to genomic data. Immediate release of the data really helped us to visualize the outbreak response to make it easier to understand what was happening. We took this approach to the public in real time. We believe that integration into hygiene measures is essential for effective outbreak response, which is a technology that really helps us understand which strategy to apply to contain the pandemiology. It demonstrates the power and power of data analysis. This is certainly beneficial for COVID-19, but will also help manage future pandemics. “

Dr. Manojigo Parakrishnan — Tapestry Pooling Approach

“The pandemic has caused enormous financial distress. We were required to make an impossible trade-off between financial distress and health risks. The truth is, we too. That’s not what you want. You need a silver bullet that minimizes financial distress and minimizes health stress. Of course, the vaccine could be a silver bullet, but it progresses. It’s a work inside, and I don’t know when it’s ready and how effective it is. “

Currently, increasing the number of tests is a better option. You need frequent, scalable testing that is affordable, scalable, and built on reliable, proven technology that provides fast, accurate results.

“The problem is that traditional testing is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. This is a very slow, linear process.”

In contrast, the tapestry pooling test method developed by IIT-Bombay uses compressed sensing algorithms to accurately test more patients with fewer trials. Tapestry pooling can be used to test quite a lot of people compared to traditional PCR sampling.

“20 results per test in a single round, fast, accurate, easy to use, and validated with over 3,000 samples,” said Dr. Gopalkrishnan, a solution that is recognized and expensive around the world. He added that he has a good reputation. world.

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