Azim Premji Foundation, NCBS, inStem ink partnership on enhanced testing for COVID-19

The collaboration is also for conducting research into new and innovative methods for testing the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Azim Premji Foundation, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR), and the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) said on Monday they have collaborated to augment testing infrastructure and facilities to deal with the COVID- 19 pandemic.

The collaboration is also for conducting research into new and innovative methods for testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The partnership would enable free-of-cost testing for COVID-19 to a large number of people from disadvantaged and marginalised communities, using NCBS-TIFR and inStem's high-capacity technical capabilities and skilled scientific personnel, an Azim Premji Foundation statement said.

Wipro Founding Chairman Azim Premji

The institutions will also actively research innovative methods of testing that can potentially help enhance the country's capacity and speed of COVID-19 testing considerably, it said.

NCBS-TIFR and In-Stem are testing centres approved by their respective Departments, Atomic Energy (DAE) and Biotechnology (DBT), as per the guidelines of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), it was stated.

NCBS-TIFR and inStem are institutions working on research in the frontier areas of biology.

Both employ experimental and computational approaches in the study of molecules, cells, organisms, and systems, and the deployment of stem cells in health and disease.

Azim Premji Foundation and Wipro have committed a sum of Rs 1,125 crore to contribute towards an integrated nation-wide response to COVID-19 in coordination with government institutions and civil society partners, the statement said.

Earlier in April, in a joint statement, they said that these resources will help enable the dedicated medical and service fraternity in the frontline of the battle against the pandemic and in mitigating its wide-ranging human impact, particularly on the most disadvantaged of our society.

It added that integrated action will be taken for a comprehensive on-the-ground response in specific geographies, focused on immediate humanitarian aid, and augmentation of healthcare capacity, including containing the coronavirus outbreak and treating those affected by it.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

Edited by Kanishk Singh