Speaking at the Global Online Conference on combating Covid-19: Biotech to the Rescue organised by Bennett University on Thursday, Fisher said India’s decision to lift the lockdown in a phased manner is a step in the right direction.
“Lockdown must be lifted in a phased manner. The best way is to have intense social engagement as the virus is transmitted through the community and the solution has to come from the community,” he said. If the lockdown is lifted at once, the country runs the risk of getting into high rates of transmission, he said, adding, “One needs to put in unprecedented effort to do things like social distancing.”
K VijayaRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to the government, said digital contact tracing is one way to prevent the spread of the virus after lifting the lockdown.
Must indigenise every component of kit: Shaw
This will let people know if they are safe and protected. When combined with self-assessment and assessment of the population, this will give us an ‘e-pass’ to know that we are safe after lifting the lockdown,” he said.
The government is ramping up testing numbers and has addressed issues such as availability of testing reagents, the number of testing sites and problems in reagent supply chain. It has also procured high throughput testing machines to amplify testing in the country, Vijaya-Raghavan said.
At the inaugural session earlier in the day, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, executive chairperson of Biocon Limited, said the pandemic has shown India’s capability in developing test kits as quite a few groups are now involved in developing them.
“Right now, we need to import a lot of components for the test kit. We are almost an assembler of the kit. But we need to indigenise every component of the kit and we realised we have those capabilities,” she said.
“The pandemic has brought together medical, scientific, engineering and IT community to understand and deal with it in a way that it can get us into a much safer zone and can get us out of this lockdown that we are living in,” she added.