Isolation and social distancing being key measures in containing Corona outbreak, the goal is to able to trace patients digitally and establish virus transmission chains and mitigate transmission. Further, identification of the strain of the virus and its sequence are critical towards understanding molecular epidemiology, which will assist in accurate diagnosis, development of suitable vaccines and drugs for India population.
Molecular Surveillance: Country needs digital surveillance data to help trace the recent movements of coronavirus patients and establish virus transmission chains. CSIR is taking support from Industries to come up with optimum solutions for digital surveillance. CSIR-IGIB will be lead laboratory to implement digital surveillance of coronavirus and also take other CSIR labs on board. The database will be managed in a dynamic mode for feeding the R and D channels.
- CSIR-CCMB, CSIR-IGIB, and CSIR-IMTech are doing sequencing of coronavirus to know if any genetic changes are occurring in the virus while it is spreading in the country. The information will help gauge the severity of disease in various geographical regions, developing an ELISA detection test, and ultimately vaccine against coronavirus.
- One hundred and sixty-six virus samples have been sequenced as on 28 May 2020. CSIR is targeting to sequence more than 500 viral genomes.
Digital Surveillance Platform: The objective is to integrate digital data on the virus such as the viral genome, with deep patient data and disease course data including outcomes. These require the integration of data from multiple platforms and must be linked together before the identification. While Aadhar could be used as a hidden private integrator, it is not available in most data, so the alternative is to have a unique ID and consented data tracing via an app downloaded at the time of initial testing, and a network of clinical and molecular partners.
- CSIR is building end to end capacity in this vertical. A platform for surveillance is being developed in partnership with Intel India.
- CSIR and TATA Group have completed the district level screening in Kolar. The study has shown the value of a combined serology plus RT-PCR intelligent strategy, informed by virtual data. After the pilot study on digital surveillance in Kolar, CSIR is planning to do the next pilot surveillance in Jamshedpur and NCR