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IIT-Guwahati sets up research centre for COVID-19 analysis

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IIT-Guwahati sets up research centre for COVID-19 analysis

Talking about setting up a research centre for COVID-19 analysis, T G Sitharam, director, IIT-Guwahati, said: “Our idea is to make this a state-of-the-art facility for the entire Northeast region. This centre in future would help to develop highly competent manpower for diagnosis of different infectious diseases in the early stage of infection and thus its prevention too.”

Even though there are no positive cases being recorded in Assam thus far, IIT-Guwahati is taking the lead in the North East region in the fight against the pandemic, setting up a research centre for COVID-19 analysis . Apart from providing real-time PCR machines for the diagnosis of the virus to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital and developing WHO specified masks and hand sanitizers, the IIT is also developing several state-of-the-art technologies which include, robot-based drug/ food carrying unit to work in isolation wards and robot-based screening units, biodegradable and reusable protective gear and hospital beds including ICU beds, among others.

Talking about setting up a research centre for COVID-19 analysis, T G Sitharam, director, IIT-Guwahati, said: “Our idea is to make this a state-of-the-art facility for the entire Northeast region. This centre in future would help to develop highly competent manpower for diagnosis of different infectious diseases in the early stage of infection and thus its prevention too.”

Since the initial days of this outbreak, IIT Guwahati Sitharam has prepared hand sanitizers at its various departments and academic centres and is in the process of preparing at least 5000 sanitizer bottles and provide them to GMCH and Assam government. The Institute has provided two real-time PCR machines to GMCH for the diagnosis of Coronavirus. These machines would help in ramping the testing process by analysing 1000 samples if run for 12 hours continuously and 2000 samples in 24 hours.

In addition, the departments of mechanical engineering and electronics and electrical engineering are also developing large and high capacity autoclave machine, handheld temperature measuring units, ventilators, medical waste disposal in the isolation wards, shower for disinfection. The departments of chemistry and bioscience and bioengineering are developing prototype protective gears with antiviral and superhydrophobic coatings while the department of chemical engineering is working to develop biodegradable plastic based medical textile. The department of design has developed a prototype 3D printed full face shield including head gear which can be scaled up immediately.

On the research front, multiple efforts are being made for vaccine development at the department of bioscience and bioengineering. Various other departments are involved in developing multiple routes to have a diagnostic and therapeutic approach for the early detection of various viral infections.

Faculty members also have developed a PCR machine in-house which has been patented and is ready for commercialization whereas portable OFET sensors fabricated at the Institute could be integrated for COVID diagnosis. In addition, the Institute is also in the process of setting up an advanced research centre (BSL-III/IV laboratory) for COVID-19 analysis, which would help the entire Northeast region to test for COVID-19 and other dreadful virus detection and diagnosis.

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