From the Director's Desk - Some thoughts on Scope for Research against Covid-19 @ IITBBS

DirectorDear faculty colleagues,

All of you are aware about what the Covid‐19 Pandemic is doing to mankind at the moment. Our central and state governments are also trying to do their best in different ways. 

I am happy to mention that the following teams from IITBBS have already volunteered to help creating brief state‐of‐art reports and on important guidelines, as follows:

  1. Dr Shantanu Pal, Dr Rana, Dr Ashis Biswas, and Dr Anasuya on characteristics of Corona SARS-2, Disinfectants and washing material/sanitizers. It would be good if they can explore on therapeutic research.
  2. Dr RR Das, Dr Manaswini, Dr P Bhunia and Dr Remya – Waste treatment and sanitization methods and preparedness for Covid-19 outbreak.
  3. Dr Mihir Pandit, Dr Panduranga, Dr Suvradip, Dr SN Panigrahi and Dr Sasidhar – Fogging machines and sprayers (they should extend range to include Ventilators)

It is a difficult time for mankind (irrespective economical and scientific advancement level) and I think, IIT Bhubaneswar is in a position to and can do a lot more. I request you all to explore your passion and contribute.

I have the following thoughts on the scope, to share with you in this direction:

  1. Drug design and delivery: Certainly if there is a non‐toxic drug which can be delivered by a nebulizer in nanoparticle or other form and can break the lipid layers of the virus (research on RNA in general), it would be a great discovery/invention. I am sure, you will agree that our material synthesis and bio faculty who have knowledge in microbiology have a grand scope, in this direction.

    On the day before yesterday, I was browsing for material to understand the Physics, Chemistry and Microbiology behind the traditional inhalation practices like steam, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, …… But I could not find much. As Scientists and technologists, can we ignore these traditional practices?

    Please Remember - It is unscientific to underestimate the capabilities of traditional methods!

  2. Different methods of detection of Covid‐19: Let us appreciate the Mylabs work on developing a low cost test kit. There is a big scope for exploring the different routes available and place for innovation for many aggressive entrepreneurs also to jump in. Let us not forget the Kapalbhati way of testing the lung power to detect infection as illustrated by Shri Ramdev, though it may need further standardization for effective public use.
  3. Peptides for blocking Coronavirus?
  4. You know about the shortage of ventilators across the globe. The effort and promise of Mahindra to deliver a low cost ventilator at Rs 7500/‐ a piece, in place of its counterpart that costs Rs 5.0‐10.0 Lakh which is facing a serious shortage across the globe at the moment. It is needless to mention that there is a place for you to exercise your passion.
  5. Innovation for protective equipment including masks I recall the village innovation from a Telangana mechanic who demonstrated a small nasal clip with cotton swab, (he sold two to me at Rs 1/‐ each) 10years back when I was serving as VC at RGUKT.
  6. It appears that there is a lot of scope for identifying inhibiters and in synthesizing the virus like particles to help in vaccine development, are other areas where one can work.

I am wondering about what AIIMS, RMRC and ILS are working on, in this direction, but certainly like to believe that we have an excellent scope for collaboratively working and contributing.

I request each one of you to think about, explore and pursue your passion to serve. I would appreciate receiving thoughts of some of you who have put in some efforts in this direction and volunteer to help.

With best wishes,
Prof R V Raja Kumar
Director, IIT Bhubaneswar