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As per the Ministry of Information and broadcasting press release the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), is supporting a technology by the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering (DBB), IIT Bombay for capturing and inactivation of novel corona virus, the causative agent of COVID-19.

It further stated that the funding will help the team from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay develop a gel that can be applied to nasal passage, which is a major entry point of the corona virus. This solution is not only expected to protect the safety of health workers, but can also lead to reduction in community transmission of COVID-19.

“Our health care workers and others working in the front- line of fight against the virus deserve a fool-proof, 200% protection. The nasal gel being developed in conjunction with other protective measures, will provide a strong extra layer of defense“, stated by Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

As per the instructions, Prof. Kiran Kondabagil, Prof. Rinti Banerjee, Prof. Ashutosh Kumar and Prof. Shamik Sen from the Dept. of Biosciences &Bioengineering at IIT Bombay will be part of this project. The team has expertise in the areas encompassing virology, structural biology, biophysics, biomaterials, and drug delivery and it is expected that the technology would be ready in about 9 months.

In continuation, on Tuesday the Official Spokesperson of the Central Government, Department of External Affairs also stated that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of our own people. In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products. In the meanwhile, a comprehensive assessment was made of possible requirements under different scenarios. After having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged, these restrictions have been largely lifted. The DGFT has notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs yesterday. With regard to paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), they will be kept in a licensed category and their demand position would be continuously monitored. However, the stock position could allow our companies to meet the export commitments that they had contracted. He further added that In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities which was earlier denied by the Government as per the notification (Amendment to export policy) released on 4th April, 2020 by DGFT(Director General of Foreign Trade), Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

As per the notification mentioned above, the export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydrochloroquine was no longer allowed. But later on, DGFT had released another notification on 6th April, 2020 in which restrictions were made on 14 drugs and their formulation excluding the Drugs “Paracetamol and Hydrochloroquine”.

-India Legal Bureau

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