22 March 2020
New Delhi: Principal Scientific Adviser to Indian government, K. Vijay Raghavan on Sunday urged scientists to "maximally contribute" as individuals, teams and institutions in the fight against COVID-19.
Taking to social media to make an appeal, he said, "Our scientists must see where they can maximally contribute as individuals, teams, institutions, and clusters of institutions."
In series of tweets he explained how scientists can help the government in containing the deadly coronavirus.
He chalked out three ways wherein one can help. He asked to form city clusters of institutes and thereafter engage state governments for most interactions. "Science institutions in each city should form a team with effective leadership, which should stay connected with the state government," he suggested.
"Find out what they need, when and where. They know what they need today, and as the situation changes requirements will change. For everything, the state machinery has a process. Your help, advice, technical and personnel support can make the process work best."
Thereafter, Raghavan suggested talks about teams at institutions level. "Find out what you can develop and contribute short-, middle- and long-term. Needs are being dynamically mapped. Problems will be dynamically defined. Local interaction and nimbleness is the key," he tweeted.
He said that institutions and team leadership should consolidate queries and fix times for discussion if needed at the cluster, centre and state levels. "Random interactions may not be effective," he suggested.
He also appealed to individual scientists can also contribute and make bring value locally, nationally and globally. "There is much for each to do," he said.
He also gave a partial list of current potential needs and appealed to the scientists where one can fit in and act at an appropriate scale. "City cluster, teams/institutions, or individuals should each do what they can do best and the most impactful," he said.
The list includes, personnel protective equipment, critical-care equipment, hospital-sterilizing equipment, rapid deployment of tests and diagnostics, including creating new ones and rapid deployment of mobile apps and mobile-based tracking.
He emphasized on communication modules. "Daily. Verify valid news. Point out fakes and poor quality. Design and develop modules in all languages. Disseminate," he tweeted.
He also said that there should be high-end research such as trials repurposing of known drugs, making new drugs vaccines, serological tests and the analysis of their data.
He said that it is all feasible with the collaboration of industry and academics.
"There is one intervention that all three levels of effort must focus on. Looking after our communities. The elderly, the vulnerable, the lonely, in our neighbourhoods," he tweeted.
He also pointed that one should also look at the poor, the informal workforce. "Everyone must get their food and shelter and all their animals and plants," he said.
He also suggested to publicise efforts taken by them on websites. He also lauded overall efforts taken by Indian government in containing the virus. He also appreciated the efforts of health ministry and ICMR due to which testing resources have been expanded.