Amid increasing cases of Coronavirus in the country, the National Task Force for COVID-19 recommended establishing the "India COVID-19 Clinical Research Collaborative Network," on priority. This network will be coordinated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The network aims to improve the clinical comprehension of COVID-19 in India, to develop specific protocols and further research and development (R&D) for therapeutics. For this purpose, a common database of clinical and laboratory parameters of hospitalised Coronavirus cases is being created. All hospitals currently treating COVID-19 patients have been invited to partner in the network.
Meanwhile, ICMR has said that hospitals must continue to independently report information regarding COVID-19 cases to Central/State health authorities as per the current guidelines.
In a letter, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR, said: "The national task force for COVID-19 has constituted the research groups to identify the research priorities and quickly initiate research studies. This group includes clinical research group, research on diagnostics and biomarkers, epidemiology and surveillance, operations research, vaccine/drug research, and development."
The heads of these groups will hold meetings of through video conference to distinguish research priorities, develop research protocols and identify partners institutes for initiating studies, Dr Bhargava further said. The letter has also discussed the terms of reference for each research group, focusing on identifying research priorities, reviewing evidence, identifying protocols and partners for implementation.
As of date, at least 4789 positive cases have been reported of the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19), while 352 have been discharged. 124 deaths have been reported to date. India has suspended all visas and barred travel from Afghanistan, Philippines, EU, UK, China, Malaysia and mandatory 14-day quarantine from several other countries. The Prime Minister has issued a 21-day countrywide lockdown starting from 25 March to April 14 and the Finance Minister has announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package under the 'PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme'.
(With inputs from ANI)