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Indian scientist partners with BRICS group to study overlap of SARS-CoV-2 with tuberculosis

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This collaborative study is expected to provide valuable co-morbidity data pertaining to pulmonary TB patients with or without COVID-19 co-infection that is expected to be generated for better disease management

Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with BRICS countries is implementing SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium and multi centric programme to study the impact of severe COVID-19 conditions on TB patients.

The SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium is an interdisciplinary collaboration to advance COVID-19 health-relevant knowledge and to contribute to improvements in health outcomes. The consortium will accelerate the translation of genomic data leading to clinical and public health research and interventions from clinical and surveillance samples by utilising the high-end genomic technologies, and epidemiologic and bioinformatics tools for future use in diagnostic assays and tracking transmission dynamics of COVID-19 and other viruses.

The Indian team consists of scientists from National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (Professor Arindam Maitra, Professor Saumitra Das, Dr Nidhan K Biswas), Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (Dr Ashwin Dalal) and Indian Institute of Science (Dr Mohit K Jolly) along with National Laboratory for Scientific Computation-LNCC/MCTI (Dr Ana Tereza Ribeiro de Vasconcelos) from Brazil, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Professor Georgii Bazykin) from Russia, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Professor Mingkun Li) from China and University of KwaZulu-Natal (Professor Tulio de Oliveira) from South Africa, who will participate in this consortium.

The second multi centric programme consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from India, Brazil and South Africa would investigate the impact of severe COVID-19 on transient peripheral immunosuppression and lung hyperinflammation conditions in TB patients for epidemiology and comorbidity. This team consists of National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis (Dr Subash Babu, Dr Anuradha Rajamanickam, Dr Banurekha Velayutham and Dr Dina Nair) from India, Lapclin-Tb/ Inifiocruz (Dr Valeria Cavalcanti Rolla), IMU, LIB, MONSTER/ IGMFIOCRUZ (Dr Bruno de Bezerril Andrade), LAPCLIN-TB/ INIFIOCRUZ (Dr Adriano Gomes da Silva) and LBB/ INI-FIOCRUZ (Dr Maria Cristina Lourenço) from Brazil and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (Dr Bavesh Kana, Dr Bhavna Gordhan, Dr Neil Martinson and Dr Ziyaad Waja) from South Africa.

This collaborative study is expected to provide valuable co-morbidity data pertaining to pulmonary TB patients with or without COVID-19 co-infection that is expected to be generated for better disease management.

Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology remarked that the department has taken small steps in the right direction towards collaboration with BRICS countries and plans to expend the BRICS programme.

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