Indian industries offer support in COVID-19 crisis

The Technology Development Board (TDB) has invited proposals from the Indian industry and startup sectors to drive innovations to strengthen the nation’s core capacities in fighting the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

April 11, 2020

The scope of activities cover the key areas of surveillance, laboratory support, infection prevention and control, logistics, risk communication

The impact of the call was widespread, and within the first week, more than 300 companies marked their presence by registering on TDB Portal

140 additional companies have submitted proposals to date. Many of these are from startups offering innovative solutions covering the gamut of areas

The proposals received include those related to diagnostic kits, including the Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase PCR (RT- PCR) as well as antibody rapid tests

The Technology Development Board (TDB) has invited proposals from the Indian industry and startup sectors to drive innovations to strengthen the nation’s core capacities in fighting the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as per a statement on April 11. TDB is a statutory body of the Government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) that provides financial support to Indian companies for commercialization of indigenous technology or adaptation of imported technology. The invitation for proposals, first opened on March 20, has received an overwhelming response from the industry and startup ecosystems. 

The scope of activities covers the key areas of surveillance, laboratory support, infection prevention and control, logistics, risk communication, and, in particular, to strengthen the capabilities related to isolation and management of critically-ill patients for containing and preventing the spread of the pandemic. The impact of the call was widespread, and within the first week, more than 300 companies marked their presence by registering on TDB Portal. In addition, 140 companies have submitted their proposals to date. Many of these are from startups offering innovative solutions covering the gamut of areas.

“TDB’s call to support the manufacturing of a full spectrum of products and technologies relevant to COVID-19 has rapidly brought to the surface latent capabilities of our startups and MSME,” Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, said. This initiative will help rapidly offset the economic losses and move ahead with renewed vigor to meet the challenges of manufacturing indigenous technology. 

The proposals received thus far include those related to diagnostic kits, including the Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase PCR (RT- PCR) as well as antibody rapid tests. The solutions offered range from paper-based to on-chip assays and even Nano-fluidic platforms for point of care applications. In the Biotech domain, some are for vaccine development, some for the point-of-care device for identifying the severity of disease based on markers, and the rest are for products obtained from natural sources as a means to improve health conditions. Solutions also include those for large-scale production of affordable masks.

Proposals received related to large-area sanitization and sterilization include a variety of solutions from hand sanitizers to automated disinfection robots using Full-Depth Disinfection Cycle (FDDC) technology for large area sanitization. Many companies have explored antiviral properties of the silver nanoparticles for disinfection in their products, usage of germicidal properties of the UV rays in disinfection chambers, thymol, and liquid ozone-based disinfection technologies as well as innovative spraying guns like electrostatic sprayer. Many of these solutions are built on and backed by next-gen technologies.