The Office of Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), Govt of India

Industry Engagement facilitated by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser

With the country facing an unprecedented crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, the premier technical institutes have completely re-oriented their research ecosystem to develop solutions for the myriad issues that are coming up. This Herculean effort that lacks a parallel in modern history demands not only a significant commitment in terms of manpower and infrastructure but also a sizeable financial outlay. The industry has stepped up to do its part and help the country overcome this crisis by funding and collaborating on research projects with academia.

IIT Delhi developing PPE kits customised for healthcare professionals

The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) joined hands with PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) towards its fight against COVID-19 by developing personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals. IIT Delhi and PNBHFL have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which IIT Delhi start-up ETEX incubated at IITD will be working to develop and deliver smart textile solutions for healthcare. The team has a strong expertise in textile engineering and has technical support from researchers and professionals from interdisciplinary backgrounds including electronics, medical, material and design. The team is committed to innovate advanced technologies related to protection (against pollution and COVID-19), pain, health monitoring and posture. PNBHFL, a leader in the construction finance, will be contributing corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds towards this project. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented lockdown in many geographies globally. All public and private stakeholders must contribute their mite in stopping its spread. As part of its societal The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) joined hands with PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) towards its fight against COVID-19 by developing personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals. IIT Delhi and PNBHFL have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which IIT Delhi start-up ETEX incubated at IITD will be working to develop and deliver smart textile solutions for healthcare. The team has a strong expertise in textile engineering and has technical support from researchers and professionals from interdisciplinary backgrounds including electronics, medical, material and design. The team is committed to innovate advanced technologies related to protection (against pollution and COVID-19), pain, health monitoring and posture. PNBHFL, a leader in the construction finance, will be contributing corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds towards this project. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented lockdown in many geographies globally. All public and private stakeholders must contribute their mite in stopping its spread. As part of its societal

Development of a Novel Peptide Therapy for COVID-19 at IIT Delhi

This project, being carried out at DBT Centre of Excellence for Biopharmaceutical Technology, IIT Delhi, is utilizing bioinformatics tools to design a novel peptide for blocking coronavirus. They are being supported in their endeavour by Kisankraft Limited.This IIT Delhi-based startup Growdea Technologies Pvt. Ltd is founded by Dr. Avinash Mishra at IIT Delhi.

IIT Kanpur – Nocca develops Invasive Ventilator with IoTenabled features

Nocca Robotics Pvt. Ltd is engaged in designing and manufacturing robots that clean solar panel in a waterless manner. Using the Team’s extensive experience in electromechanical control systems in their regular business, they decided to contribute in nation’s fight against COVID-19, by designing a ventilator along with the active involvement and guidance from the incubator of IIT Kanpur. An experienced team of pulmonologists and intensivists from India and overseas has been advising the Team on the design principles of invasive ventilators. The development is aided by an experienced group of Indian business leaders and biomedical engineers.

The ventilator has been designed in a way so that

  • It can be manufactured at a large scale at multiple sites.
  • It can work with medical airline plus oxygen as well as ambient air plus oxygen thus providing the versatility to operate under both conditions.
  • It meets all the essential specifications laid out by the Government of India.

The designed mechanical ventilator can operate in PC-CMV, PC SIMV, PSV, VC-SIMV, VC CMV, PRVC, ACV, CPAP and BPAP modes. The ventilator is permanently connected to a mobile phone which is used to control the device and display critical information. The IoT-enabled feature creates an efficient Ventilator Management System that allows:

  • doctors to control the ventilators remotely and thus ensuring lesser exposure to COVID-19 patients and/or ventilator and
  • control of multiple machines with one IoT device thus addressing the problem of limited availability of trained doctors.

Current Status:

  • The product is currently at the compliance and pre-clinical testing stage.
  • The project has been a brilliant union of the academia, start-up and hospital. This was possible with industry being the major component of all, binding everyone together.

Industries supporting the project:

i) ACT Grants

Description: ACTS Grants is the Action COVID-19 Team equipped with Rs. 100 crore grant created by India’s start-up community to give wings to ideas that could combat COVID-19 with immediate impact. They have been seeking capital-efficient, scalable solutions from NGOs and innovative start-ups which need an initial seed grant to fight the spread of the pandemic. Many organisations like MMT, Dell, Infoedge, and, members of funds like Accel, Aavishkaar, Sequoia, and Unitus, have donated in personal capacity. For more details, please visit www.actgrants.in
Support: The ACT grant is currently being used for prototype development and preclinical trials of the product.

ii) Ansys

Description: Ansys offers a comprehensive software suite that spans the entire range of physics, providing access to virtually any field of engineering simulation that a design process requires. Organizations around the world trust Ansys to deliver the best value for their engineering simulation software investment. During the COVID-19 pandemic,Ansys is also striving to positively contribute to the battle against coronavirus.Ansys is supporting the ongoing initiatives of its customers and partners.
Support: The fund by Ansys has helped the product’s initial research and development.

iii) Standard Chartered

Description: Standard Chartered Bank is India’s largest international bank with 100 branches in 43 cities.
Support: These funds were one of the early ones and helped in the project’s initial product R&D.

iv) ICICI Securities

Description: ICICI Securities Limited is a Registered Investment Advisor under SEBI Investment Adviser Regulations, 2013 and has been offering advisory services under the brand ICICI direct Investment Advisory Services.
Support: The funds were used in the project’s initial product R&D.

v) Cummins India

Description: Through Cummins Technologies India Pvt. Ltd., Cummins is at the forefront of designing future technologies for turbos, emissions, fuel systems and more. Support: Cummins is helping the project by supplying one of the most critical components in the ventilator – the flow sensors.

vi) Naukri.com

Description: Naukri.com is a recruitment platform that provides hiring-related services to corporates/recruiters, placement agencies and to job seekers in India and overseas.
Support: These funds are currently helping the project with prototyping and compliance testing of the ventilator.

vii) AdorPowertron

Description: AdorPowertron is the world’s leading solution provider of high frequency & conventional high voltage rectifier transformer sets that are deployed for clean air applications (including electrostatic precipitators for power stations, cement, pulp & paper + steels plants and roads). They are also India’s largest provider of traffic safety & enforcement solutions, including speed enforcement systems & IP and electronic Variable Messaging Signs/Commercial LED Walls.
Support: Conversation is on with Ador for mass manufacturing of the product starting next month.

Cholamandalam provides funding support to IIT Madras Students to scale up production of face shields

The coronavirus spreads primarily between people in close contact, often by small droplets during coughing, sneezing, and talking. Hence, face shields have become critical to protecting healthcare workers in the frontlines and treating patients. Cholamandalam, the financial services arm of the Murugappa Group, has provided funding to IIT Madras students to scale up the production of face shields. The students started manufacturing these face shields using 3D printing, with a production rate of around 1,000 pieces per day. As the project gathered momentum and attracted more orders, the team shifted to ‘Injection Moulding’ technique, which enabled them to quadruple the production rate to around 4,000 pieces per day at a reduced cost with an improved design. The students have already delivered over 45,000 face shields to hospitals and police personnel in Chennai, Puducherry, Avadi and Cuddalore among other places. These face shields have received a lot of appreciation and positive feedback from the users. More importantly, this was seen as a good replacement to the Hazmat Suit Helmets which most users felt were suffocating and did not allow smooth access to stethoscopes as well.

Venture Center’s initiative on developing simple and lowcost face shields for healthcare workers and police forces gets support from Cummins India Foundation, Persistent Foundation & Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. Pune

One of the ways in which the human-to-human transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus occurs is through respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, or exhale. Thus, healthcare workers, police personnel, and caregivers of suspected/confirmed COVID-19 patients are mostly at risk of getting infected. To safeguard the health of these workers, enthusiastic staff and entrepreneurs at Entrepreneurship Development Center (Venture Center), a technology business incubator hosted by CSIR-National Chemical Laboratories in Pune have designed and manufactured a simple and low-cost face shield, which provides a physical barrier between the workers and other people they interact with, significantly minimizing their contact to the infection. The face shield comprises of a transparent clear polyester sheet that protects the face from any airborne fluid particles. The sheet is kept in place with the help of a headband and an elastic strap. The Pune face shield design uses MDF and can be machined (instead of laser cutting), which makes the process simpler, cheaper and scalable. The designs are now available freely for download under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License. Anyone can use the knowhow freely for non-commercial use (means that you will price it reasonably and provide at affordable costs and make it available without unfair discrimination). So far, nearly 1 lakh face shields have been delivered to healthcare workers and police forces across the country.
Website Link: https://www.venturecenter.co.in/covid19/pune-face-shieldaction-group/

This initiative has been generously supported by:

Cummins India Foundation: Founded in 1990 as an independent legal entity, the Cummins India Foundation (CIF) channelizes Cummins’ commitment towards Corporate Responsibility. l Persistent Foundation: It was formed in 2009 to institutionalize Corporate Social Responsibility within Persistent. The Persistent Foundation supported donation of face shields for frontline staff in hospitals in Pune. l Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. Pune: Established in 1888 and incorporated in 1920, Kirloskar Brothers Limited (KBL) is the flagship company of the $ 2.1 billion Kirloskar Group.

For further information on any of the industry engagement with S&T organizations that are being facilitated by the Office of PSA, contact Dr Sapna Poti (sapnapoti@ia.iitm.ac.in).

Meeting demand side of agri technologies for farmers through S&T enablers call for agri technologies

With the relaxation of lockdown, India is facing a unique challenge of migration of a large number of workers from unorganised sectors in urban, peri-urban regions to villages and rural areas. This will require to rapidly engage the migrants moving to primary agricultural and rural livelihood settings by supporting them with effective employment opportunity locally through technological and innovative solutions to increase their efficiency and yield. This will also require youth migrants who could be supported by making them change agents or trained personnel for the deployment of technical know-how etc. in villages. To meet the load on agriculture and to ensure sustainable farm and allied products including best rural practices, both agro-scientific research output and agri-technologies deployment will be essential at this juncture as an effective response through a COVID-19 Agriculture track being launched by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India. The objective of the call is to support the migrants and other agriculturists by providing access to scientific knowledge and innovative technologies as well as required capacity building by involving scientists and technologists from national laboratories and academic institutions along with their incubated start-ups from the supply side. Efforts will be made to bridge the supply side with the demand side by proactively involving enablers like industry, accelerators, foundations and public agencies to support technologies and solutions through evaluation for low cost, high quality, bankable and scalable projects in agriculture and allied areas. The range of scientific and technological products would include, amongst others light equipment, scientific solutions and heavy-duty technologies. The detailed project submission template of this call can be obtained by writing Email to: agritech.covid@gmail.com

COVID-19 Medical Inventory facilitated by PSA’s Office launched 

The COVID-19 Medical Inventory is an academic initiation from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNSCAR), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), Mumbai, and Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), facilitated by the PSA. The inventory is a district-level short-term conjecture of medical inventory for COVID-19. This includes inventory for intensive and acute supportive care requirements. The mathematical model has been tuned with the recent data and the projections have now been revised. The numbers shown below are projections meant to help administrations plan for a worst-case scenario; however, the actual numbers could differ based on the interventions. This web application provides a four-week projected requirement for various medical inventories across districts, states, and the national level. The initiative aims to be helpful in planning for infrastructure, arranging essential human resources and procurement of materials. MSMEs and other industries working in the production and supply chain of these essentials may use these projections to support their local government administration.

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Organization-wise COVID Warriors Dashboard 

The Government of India has launched covidwarriors.gov.in to get doctors, paramedical staff, police and volunteers engaged in prevention and treatment of COVID-19. COVID Warriors portal aims to develop the capabilities of all individuals involved in prevention and treatment of coronavirus pandemic. This database contains information on 1.24 crore corona warriors. 

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COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge 

MyGov had launched COVID-19 Solution Challenge on its platform which has seen a very encouraging response from Start-ups, entrepreneurs and individuals proposing technology solutions in the fields of Bioinformatics, datasets,  Apps for diagnosis, etc. that can be leveraged for strengthening the fight against COVID-19.
In order to support and promote women, entrepreneurs and women-led start-ups and also to provide solutions by entrepreneurs impacting a large number of women, UN Women has proposed to partner with MyGov COVID-19 Solution Challenge. Accordingly, MyGov has launched COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge as an additional reward and support for women entrepreneurs and solutions by entrepreneurs that can impact a large number of women.
Total prize money of Rs 22,50,000 has been committed by UN Women towards COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge, under their program WeEmpowerAsia, supported by the European Union.
Only women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs with solutions impacting a large number of women will be eligible for the prizes sponsored by the UN Women. In case of a tie on scores, women entrepreneurs of start-ups led by women will get preference; the participants should be Citizens of India and only organisations or entities registered in India would be eligible for COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge.
Last date for entries will be 30th April 2020.

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Office Memorandum for focused research on Corona vaccines and other S&T issues

A Task Force for focused research on Corona vaccines and other S&T issues (referred to as the Vaccine Task Force, VTF) Co-Chaired by Dr Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog and Prof K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India has been constituted by the PMO. The Empowered Technology Group (ETG) has been approved by the Cabinet and is Chaired by Prof K Vijay Raghavan. The Joint Committee of the ETG and PMO constituted Task Force for focused research on Corona vaccine and other S&T met on April 16 and April 20, 2020. The ETG and VTF have approved the ‘Guidelines for sharing of biospecimen and data for research related to COVID-19’. These guidelines should be followed and the stipulated timelines for sharing/ providing biospecimens should be adhered to.

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Handbook for COVID-19 testing in Research Institutions

Handbook for COVID-19 testing in Research Institutions has been adapted from World Health Organization (WHO) Interim guidance for laboratory testing and issued by the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. The purpose of this document is to provide interim guidance to laboratories and stakeholders involved in COVID-19 testing of patient samples. Adoption of these best practices is left up to the discretion of the laboratory supervisor.

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Corona Killer Drone CK100

The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), Government of India, and Invest India, India’s National Investment Promotion Agency have closely collaborated through the AGNIi Mission and Invest India’s Business Immunity Platform (BIP) - to facilitate the use of specially designed drones to support COVID-19 disinfection in Varanasi. The Government’s COVID-19 strategies align with global best practice: protecting Indians against COVID-19, by minimising their chances of catching it. To boost the capacity of the local authority in achieving this, Government is leveraging the power of technology.

Drones offer an effective solution. Using drones, authorities could spray disinfectant over large, crowded, vulnerable urban areas: protecting city-dwellers from COVID-19, while reducing human contact to keep frontline workers safe. Garuda Aerospace, a Chennaibased drone startup, responded to Varanasi’s in such disinfection drive. The team worked with Central, State, and Local government authorities to get Garuda’s technologies and personnel to Varanasi. The team 2 monitored and supported every step of this exercise by helping the Government and the innovator collaborate to fight COVID-19 together. Drone operations in Varanasi have just commenced. The team will now extend similar capabilities to more cities across India.This forms part of a broader effort to use innovative technology, via Government-innovator collaboration, to reinforce Indian authorities’ fight against COVID-19.

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Expanding testing facilities in the country

The Empowered Committee on R&D has worked towards enhancing the testing facilities to meet COVID-19-related challenges by leveraging the existing resources (instruments and human resources) in Government of India laboratories. It has enabled ICMR to issue the required notification allowing institutions under DST, DBT, CSIR, DAE, DRDO and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to self-assess and prepare their BSL labs for research and testing of coronavirus. The O/o PSA has developed a “Handbook for COVID-19 testing in Research Institutions” which allows more such labs to self-assess its preparedness in terms of equipment, staff and expertise required for COVID-19 testing. A detailed checklist has been outlined, which can be used by a research lab to self-assess and indicate their preparedness for declaring the lab as a research and testing facility for COVID-19 after ICMR approval. (This handbook has been assembled by a group of young researchers whose efforts are gratefully acknowledged).

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Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Guidelines on rational use of Personal Protective Equipment

The guideline is for healthcare workers and others working in points of entries (POEs), quarantine centres, hospitals, laboratories and primary healthcare & community settings. The guideline uses the setting approach to guide on the type of personal protective equipment to be used in different settings.

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Foot-Operated Washing Station implemented at IAO

Foot-operated Washing Station, implemented at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Hanle, Ladakh, provided as an example for implementation in the 'Guidelines for hygiene and sanitation in densely populated areas, during the COVID-19 pandemic' released by the Office of PSA. IAO has one of the world's highest located sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes. It is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru.

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Guidelines for Hygiene and Sanitation in Densely Populated Areas, During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This handbook provides an outline of some guidelines which states/local bodies and communities can adopt, to contain the spread of COVID-19, especially in densely populated areas. These guidelines are created specifically for areas where toilets, washing or bathing facilities are shared.

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