Vaccine, therapeutic drug development for COVID-19 going on: DRDO

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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on a vaccine and therapeutic drugs, while also making sanitizer, special masks and protective gear to combat COVID-19, its chairman G Satheesh Reddy said.

Reddy said the DRDO, a government agency charged with the military’s research and development, has made and distributed over five lakh bottles of sanitizer so far and was producing 30,000 masks daily and the capacity would go up to 60,000 soon.

The DRDO is making special N-99 masks, besides personal protective gear for chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear-related activities, and working on software, including one that will track people under quarantine.

He shared the various initiatives and activities being conducted by the DRDO to tackle the spread of COVID-19 during a video conference with a private university here on Thursday.

Lot of efforts are going on to make therapeutic medications. Entire nation is contributing and DRDO plunged into activities right from day one taking up the cause, Reddy, also the Secretary to the Department of Defence Research and Development, said.

We started by preparing sanitizer at our labs in Gwalior and Delhi with our own formulations and we are working with industries also. More than five lakh sanitizer bottles have been distributed across the country. Labs across the country have been given the formulations who are further producing them locally, he said during the webinar organized by Amity University, Noida.

The distinguished scientist said many instruments and machines used for sanitisation are also being prepared and distributed, while special innovations have been done for baggage screening at airports.

We have also developed a mask called N-99 with better levels of filtration and are also producing 30,000 masks every day. We also developed multiple fabrics for PPE and in the last one month, we have developed three types of PPE. We have also created a complete face shield at DRDO. We are also making a large number of ventilators, including a mechanism where one ventilator can be used for multiple patients, Reddy was quoted as saying in a statement.

We are also working on creating many softwares, including one that is tracking people in quarantine. We have also created secure video-conferencing software. Vaccine development and therapeutic drug development is also going on, he shared.

Reddy was joined by Ashok K Chauhan, the founder president of the Amity Group, Amita Chauhan, the chairperson of Amity Schools, and William Selvamurthy, a former DRDO scientist currently working with the city-based university.

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