OncoSeek Bio, a start-up incubated at the University of Hyderabad (UoH), has been selected for Covid-19 funding by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). The start-up will receive funding support for developing an in vitro Lung Organoid model. According to a press release by UoH, OncoSeek's project is one of 16 selected so far from the 500 proposals received BIRAC by under the Union Science and Technology Ministry's Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for the COVID-19 research consortium.
The press release issued by UoH reads: "Under the COVID-19 grant received from BIRAC/DBT, they plan to expand the team and enhance the scope of current in vitro platforms to a different state-of-the-art research level. Under this grant proposal, the company plans to use their novel platform to screen drugs/peptides/molecules/agents/compounds targeted against the virus or the host cell. It plans to create this capability in the next 6 months."
Meanwhile, Dr Suresh Poosala, Founder CEO of OncoSeek, said, "Current animal models available for research on COVID-19 are either difficult to get into India or create them in time, to address the pandemic. The company envisages creating novel in vitro platforms for COVID-19 research under the support."
The country is currently in the second phase of the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14. In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "It is clearly evident from the experience of the past few days, that we have chosen the correct path. Our country has greatly benefited from social distancing and lockdown. From an economic only point of view, it undoubtedly looks costly right now; but measured against the lives of Indian citizens, there is no comparison itself. The path that India has taken within our limited resources has become a topic of discussion in the entire world today."