The Union Health Ministry said Indian scientists and researchers are working on vaccine development and that by next month, 10 lakh indigenously developed RT-PCR kits would be manufactured.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary Health Ministry, said the government is working with global partners on the vaccine development front and introducing it for the general public. Although it is a time-consuming process, "we are accelerating the processes involved."

10 lakh RT-PCR kits 

He said the RT-PCR kit manufacturing work is in progress. By May, we can produce around 10 lakh kits. "We are also working on manufacturing 10 lakh rapid antibody detection kits", he said. The real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR) test is considered one of the most accurate lab methods to detect, track and study coronavirus.

Coronavirus vaccine
Coronavirus vaccine

The Health Ministry official said that top government organizations – the Council for Scientific and Industrial Search, Department of Biotechnology and Science and Technology, and Department of Atomic Energy - have also contributed to the fight against coronavirus by providing 30 labs to enhance the overall testing for the viral infection.

The ministry said it has prioritized the indigenous manufacturing of new rapid and accurate diagnostic kits, which can provide results in 30 minutes.

"Innovative pooling strategies, limited tested to increase large numbers of people; we are focusing our efforts to increase indigenous synthesis of critical components for domestic kit production. We are also working viral sequencing, to epidemiologically identify the mutation, and vaccine development and work is in progress to develop RNA-based vaccines", said Agarwal.

Doctors at the Coronavirus isolation ward at the Patna Medical College and Hospital, on March 14, 2020.IANS

COVID-19 drugs

He said the priority is also to work on drugs for the future, "although we have many potential drugs, none of these has been proved so far".

"Under a multi-pronged strategy we are working, taking into account India's indigenous knowledge to boost the immune system. We have partnered with WHO to determine different drug therapies. A scientific task force is working to re-evaluate the existing drugs, and if required, these drugs could be re-purposed for COVID-19 use. We are working on the indigenous synthesis of anti-viral drugs", said Agarwal.

According to the Centre, of the 28,340 tests COVID-19 done on Thursday, 23,932 were conducted at 183 labs under Indian Council of Medical Research and rest were done at private labs.

(With inputs from IANS)