Under this, Microsoft India will offer both financial and technological support
IIT Delhi will use the fund for commercialisation and further research
Meanwhile, several Indian investors are also offering financial assistance to such initiatives through ACT grant
Microsoft India is offering financial and technology support, in the form of resource and infrastructure, to two Covid-19 solutions developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
Prof. V Ramgopal Rao, director of IIT Delhi, said, “Microsoft India has time and again associated with IIT-Delhi for the betterment of research, and this contribution to projects focused on COVID-19 detection research shall help the nation combat these difficult times. Timely detection can prove to be the key to curb the spread of the virus, and I am glad our institute is devising means to achieve it.”
Rohini Srivathsa, national technology officer of Microsoft India said that researchers at IIT Delhi are leading critical efforts to develop low-cost diagnostic solutions that will make Covid-19 testing affordable and accessible for all.
The Kusuma School of Biological Sciences at IIT Delhi has developed a probe-free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based Covid-19 detection assay. RT-PCR is a nuclear-derived method of detecting the presence of specific genetic material including a virus.
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The probe-free technology is said to be more affordable and easily scalable. It has also been approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex biomedical body.
ELISA-Based Diagnostic Serological Assay
IIT Delhi, in collaboration with the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, is looking to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based diagnostic serological assay to fight Covid-19.
If successful, it will create an economical and commercial process for manufacturing the antigens used in ELISA. Moreover, it will also offer home-based diagnostic kits to offer an effective, quick, robust and affordable diagnostic solution to the outbreak.
Professor Anurag Rathore, Dean of Corporate Relations at IIT Delhi also added that the grant from Microsoft India will aid in the commercialisation of the probe-free detection and also funds research on examining the possibility of creating an ELISA like assay for Covid-19 detection.
Meanwhile, even big investment firms have set up a INR 100 Cr Action Covid-19 Team (ACT) grant to help ideas, initiatives and startups looking to combat the virus. Lightspeed, Kalaari, SAIF Partners, India Quotient, Sequoia, Matrix, Omidyar Network India, Nexus, Accel, Chiratae, and Blume Ventures had extended their support to ACT. The grant has backed companies and projects like MolBio Diagnostics, Mylab Discovery Solutions and Project PCR Sample Pooling that are developing cost-effective solutions for Covid-19 testing.