First meeting of Empowered Committee for COVID-19 Response held today

New Delhi [India], Mar 21 (ANI): The first meeting of the Empowered Committee for COVID-19 Response was held on Saturday.

The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Vinod Paul, Member NITI-Aayog and Professor K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India.

The Committee was constituted to co-ordinate, amongst science agencies, scientists and regulatory bodies, and take speedy decisions on R&D to implementation related to the SARS-Cov-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease was held on March 21, 2020.

According to an official release, Indian research institutions and organizations are directed for speedy implementation of solutions related to COVID-19.

"National research labs (defined as labs of DBT/DST/CSIR/DRDO/DAE for this directive) are permitted to carry out clinical testing for COVID19 based on self-assessment and willingness to follow established protocols and all applicable reporting regulations as defined by the DHR/ICMR," it said.

The national research labs are permitted to access samples for COVID19 - related research from any government-approved clinical testing site or access clinical samples received by them for testing, subject to ethical approval for such research.

"Results from such research are required to be expeditiously shared in open formats to maximise the impact of research. Clinical care agencies are directed to enrich the open dataset by providing de-identified clinical data," read the release.

"Labs with BSL-3 or BSL-3+ facilities, with DBT/DST/CSIR/DRDO/DAE, are permitted to culture the virus and serve as additional testing and validation sites for research, based on self-assessment of BSL-3 facilities and willingness to follow established protocols as defined by the DHF2/ICMR. They may further share reagents and facilities with other national labs to ensure maximum effort for rapid solutions," the release said.

"Hospitals (Centre, State and private) to cooperate with national labs for clinical sample collection where there is an ethical approval in place, subject to capacity for such work and ability to follow established protocols," it said further.

The total number of positive cases of coronavirus has climbed to 283, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday. (ANI)