GUWAHATI, April 22 - Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati is taking an active part in the ongoing fight to prevent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, including working on development of several state-of-the-art technologies, and the institute�s efforts have been appreciated by Union Human Resources Development Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal �Nishank�.
�We are participating in providing scientific support and extension of sophisticated instrument facilities. We are also working in the development of life-saving equipment as part of the campaign to prevent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,� said an official of the institute.
IIT Guwahati�s Department of Bioscience & Bioengineering is carrying out research on multiple fronts for vaccine development.
�Likewise, other departments are also working in developing multiple routes to have a diagnostic and therapeutic approach for the early detection of various viral infections. Faculty members of the bioscience & bioengineering and the chemistry departments and the Centre for Nanotechnology have also initiated research proposals to combat COVID-19,� the official said.
Recently Union Minister Dr Pokhriyal had sent out a tweet appreciating the projects and research work undertaken by IIT Guwahati in the fight against COVID-19.
Sources added that the departments of mechanical engineering and electronics & electrical engineering of the institute are working to develop several state-of-the-art technologies which include robot-based drug and food carrying units to work in isolation wards and robot-based screening units, large and high capacity autoclave machines, hand-held temperature measuring units, hospital beds, ventilators, medical waste disposal system for use in the isolation wards and shower for disinfection, among other things.
Research is also on to develop drugs for COVID-19. �As there are no approved drugs at present, the faculty members are in the process of developing small molecule inhibitors for treatment of COVID-19 using modern biotechnological tools. The overall idea is to develop safe, efficacious and affordable drugs for this disease and other dreadful viral infections,� a source said.
IIT Guwahati faculty members have developed a PCR machine in-house which has been patented and is ready for commercialisation.
�Besides, the portable organic field-effect transistor (OFET) sensors fabricated at the institute could be integrated for COVID-19 diagnosis,� he added.
The institute is also working on setting up an advanced research centre for COVID-19 analysis with the idea to make it a state-of-the-art facility for the entire north-eastern region.
�The centre would help to develop qualified manpower for diagnosis of different infectious diseases in the early stage of infection and in prevention of such ailments,� said the official.
He added that IIT Guwahati has prepared hand sanitizers at its various departments and academic centres since the initial days of the pandemic and provided them to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and the Assam government. The institute has provided two real-time PCR machines to GMCH for diagnosis of COVID-19.
IIT Guwahati has taken steps to educate the community at large on practising social distancing and hygiene to prevent spread of COVID-19.
�The institute�s hospital and the Centre for Nanotechnology have taken up training of health centre doctors and nurses and healthcare workers,� the official added.