New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today underscored the need for global cooperation for early detection of new viruses and to contain any serious fallout from outbreak of epidemics.
Addressing scientists and researchers of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, the Vice President while referring to the newly-discovered strain of Coronavirus, said that it was spreading across the nations and causing a major concern to health authorities.
He pointed out that period outbreak of epidemics and new viruses highlighted our vulnerability to diseases.
Referring to the vital role of the Indian Science and Technology Innovation (STI) System in achieving national goals as India aspires for sustainable and inclusive growth, he appealed to the private sector to create a fund for financing innovative scientific projects that will address societal concerns.
Observing that investment in STI plays a major role in promoting research and developing cutting edge technologies, Shri Naidu said the funding for basic research also has to be stepped up.
Stressing that the outcome of every scientific endeavour must improve the lives of people, he called upon scientists of CCMB and other scientific labs to find answers to the many challenges the world was facing today like poverty, effects of climate change, pollution, lack of clean drinking water, sanitation, increasing urbanization and growing drug resistance, among others.
Lauding CCMB for developing bacterial blight-resistant Sambah Mahsuri rice variety in collaboration with Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), Shri Naidu urged scientists to find ways to develop more disease and pest-resistant crops and aid in increasing productivity to make agriculture viable and sustainable. He stressed the need to protect farmers from the vagaries of nature.
Touching upon the problem of growing anti-microbial resistance, Shri Naidu said that modern medicine was facing a serious threat on account of it and expressed the fear that many antibiotics might eventually become ineffective if the trend continued unchecked.
Calling for developing new antibiotics, apart from preventing drug resistance, he expressed his happiness that CCMB was working in that direction.
.The Vice President also urged CCMB to develop Rapid DNA Testing Kits for detection of some of the rare diseases and many other genetic disorders. “It is important to predict and prevent genetic diseases as more than 70 million Indians are estimated to be suffering from genetic disorders, according to the Organization for Rare Diseases India (ORDI)”, Shri Naidu added.
He also advised institutions like CCMB to take up campaigns on a massive scale to create awareness among the people about the health risks associated with consanguineous marriages, particularly those relating to congenital disorders.
While expressing his delight that India was now at 3rd position globally in the number of peer-reviewed Science and Engineering Publications and moved to 52ndposition in the Global Innovation Index, he said there was no room for complacency. “We need to improve further and aim to be among the top nations in scientific discoveries and inventions”, Shri Naidu stressed.
The Vice President said that young scientists should be allowed to take up challenging research assignments and come up with innovative and out-of-box ideas.
Earlier, he went around the exhibits which highlighted the research activities undertaken by CCMB.
CCMB Director, Dr. Rakesh Mishra, Directors of various CSIR labs, senior scientists and researchers were present on the occasion.