Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) Gwalior is a premier laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation which is working in the field of development of detection systems against enlisted biological agents such as Anthrax. In an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO, has said that "DRDE has developed diagnostic kits against these enlisted agents. This expertise of the laboratory can be harnessed to develop a diagnostic system against infectious diseases."
According to the DRDO chairman, "COVID-19 — the official name given to coronavirus by World Health Organisation (WHO) is a public health problem. It needs early detection in an effort to treat infected persons. DRDO can extend its laboratory-based detection expertise to health care fraternity of the country."
"DRDO is in contact with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to augment the diagnostic capability in case of any eventuality," he added.
COVID -19 reaches India
After two cases have been tested positive-one in New Delhi and another in Telangana, the government has now decided to expand the screening of passengers returning from international travels.
According to a notification issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the universal screening will include passengers coming on flights from countries South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Passengers coming from Italy and Iran, China, Hong Kong, and Japan was already being screened.
The Ministry of Health has announced the screening of passengers from 12 countries at 21 airports, including 12 major and 35 minor seaports.
There are plans to suspend travel visas in an effort to control the spread of the virus. The government has already suspended travels to countries including China and Iran and has urged passengers to avoid non-essential travels to countries like Italy, South Korea and Singapore.
Globally, the Coronavirus has spread to more than 70 countries and reportedly killed around 3,000 people, and reports indicate that more than 90,000 have been infected from the time it was first detected in the Wuhan province of China last December.
While countries like the US have reported two deaths, Iran according to reports has reported 66 deaths, followed by 34 deaths in Italy and 22 in South Korea 22.