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Half a dozen personnel identified for training at CCMB

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)’s Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) is on its way to become another testing facility for the COVID-19 samples in Telangana.

About half a dozen scientific personnel from the institute have been identified to be sent to the neighbouring CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) for getting trained in the exercise and once it is through, screening for coronavirus will be taken up at the institute, enhancing the overall testing capacity, said IICT director S. Chandrashekar on Wednesday.

IICT has been functioning with limited staff during the lockdown period but the section handling the COVID-19 battle has been functioning round the clock in its quest to find the appropriate Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) which is a precursor for making the drug or testing kit.

It handed over the API for making anti-viral drug Favipiravir to Indian pharmaceutical giant Cipla a few days ago. Scientists from the pharma firm had come from Mumbai to check the API process and took the sample sufficient enough for tablet-making to reach the next level of obtaining necessary approvals from the Drug Control Authority of India.

The premier institute is also in an advanced stage of coming out with an indigenous Real-time RT-PCR – Reverse transcription polymerase chain test kit for COVID-19. Dr. Chandrasekhar said almost 80% of the material which goes into making the kit has been developed in-house by the institute scientists led by Anthony A.

Backward integration of the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) drug is also under way and sourcing of the raw material is under way currently. Once that’s done, the country, which is already a leading producer of the drug and exporting to several countries, may not have to depend on China for the key starting materials, said the director.

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