Mon, 14 Jun 2021

New Delhi [India], May 12 (ANI): India has a huge requirement of oxygen with the supply chain not being robust and the country is mostly dependent on other countries for critical equipment like oxygen concentrators, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Saraswat has said and noted that there is need for scientific community and industry to find ways to reduce import dependence.

He was addressing an online meeting 'Addressing COVID Resurgence - ST Perspective' organised by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous body of Department of Science and Technology (DST).

An official release said scientists, doctors, drug manufacturers, industry and policy makers held discussions on ways to check the spread of COVID-19.

"There is huge requirement of oxygen in the country with the supply chain not being robust, India is mostly dependent on other countries for critical equipment like oxygen concentrators. The ST community along with industrial partners, has to find major means and ways to make sure our dependence is reduced. Vaccine production in the country is also dependent on raw materials from other countries. Hence there is a need for major push on active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) to be produced in the country," said Dr Saraswat, who is also Chairman of TIFAC Governing Council.

"We have to focus on creating a ST infrastructure for short term training of the paramedics, doctors coming directly after MBBS for augmenting the preparedness of our healthcare infrastructure," he added.

Dr Saraswat called for ramping up of research facilities particularly in genome sequencing, use of ST methods like drones for supply and distribution of the vaccines and various drugs, use of technology like AI for facilitation and management of vaccine production and complete vaccination of India's population to stop the spread of the virus. He also urged the panellists to come up with programmes that give solutions to mitigate the immediate and mid- term problems.

Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, said science, technology and innovation are the central pillars to address the issues related to second wave of COVID-19 and similar challenges of the future as well. "There are several different components of ST that are relevant for COVID-19 including understanding of the behaviour of the virus from its transmission to its impact, development of relevant technology and products; and manufacturing at scale. All of these have to connect seamlessly. This is a major lesson that we already learnt and implemented in the first wave and we must not forget it," he said. (ANI)

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