SERB invites proposals on COVID-19 & related respiratory viral infections

Proposals to ramp up R&D efforts for new antivirals, vaccines, and affordable diagnostics may be submitted as per SERB-IRHPA format by 5 pm on Monday, the 30th March 2020, through the SERB online portal

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New Delhi: COVID-19 virus has spread rapidly throughout the world. Given the lack of an efficacious vaccine and lack of availability of suitable chemotherapeutic interventions, the global population has been hit hard to the current coronavirus outbreak.

Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), an autonomous institution of the Department of Science & Technology has invited proposals as part of special call under IRHPA (Intensification of Research in High Priority Area) scheme specifically designed for COVID-19 and related respiratory viral infections to ramp up national R&D efforts for new antivirals, vaccinesand affordable diagnostics.

Academic and research institutions have been encouraged to submit competitive proposals having a strong interdisciplinary component between chemists, biologists, virologists, immunologists, and clinicians, in the related areas and to focus on the development of affordable diagnostics, vaccines, antivirals, disease models and other R&D to study these infections.

One of the participating institutions should have access to BSL-3 (Bio-safety level 3) and above facilities, along with the expertise of handling respiratory viruses as per WHO and Government of India protocols.

As per DST-SERB, it has encouraged technical partnerships and collaborative know-how from biotech and pharmaceutical companies. SERB has expressed commitment for strategic investments to accelerate antiviral research.

The Proposals may be submitted as per SERB-IRHPA format by 5 pm on Monday the 30th March 2020, through the SERB online portal.

The proposals may focus on some of the key themes such as-

1. New or repurposed antivirals against valid viral targets; viricidal coatings; etc.

2. Affordable diagnostics for symptomatic and asymptomatic respiratory viral infections

3. Investigational vaccines against respiratory viruses

4. The response of virus to temperature, humidity & UV radiation

5. Development of disease models for respiratory viral infections

6. Studies on immune response and immunity during respiratory viral infections

7. Epidemiology of COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections