Biotechnology is an asset heavy industry, said Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon at a webinar on “Wonder Women in Frontline Biotech: India Leading the Race for Covid Cure” organized by FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO), the women’s wing of the apex industry body, FICCI. She added that it would be beneficial if the government provided a stimulus package as this is a huge opportunity for the biotech sector to become self-reliant.
Ms Mazumdar-Shaw said that the world is waiting for a vaccine for COVID-19 but till the time it is developed, there is a need to conduct tests and build a treatment regime to save lives. Indian biotech sector worked quickly and came out with indigenous test kits. Today, more than 200,000 tests can be conducted using RT-PCR kits and soon over a million tests can be conducted using indigenous test kits, she added.
Ms Mazumdar-Shaw said that this is the time for all technologies to converge and biotech’s role is very vital in this. COVID-19 is an emergency, the government needs to step up for such emergencies and look at long term planning, she added.
Speaking on how biotechnology companies are contributing towards developing a vaccine for COVID-19, Mrs Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director, Bharat Biotech, said that broad-based approach has been adopted for developing treatment therapies for COVID-19. She added that the world is together in this crisis and the need is to cut across barriers for public health.
Ms Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E. Limited, said assuming that a vaccine is successful, it is important to understand that investment is needed to scale it up. Going from lab success to making 100 million doses is not trivial. She underlined that there is a need for cohesive funding for product development.
Underlining that biotechnology is leading the charge and actively contributing towards research efforts to find a vaccine to combat the virus, Ms Jahnabi Phookan, President Elect, FICCI FLO, said, “India’s biotechnology industry is working towards finding the next generation cure for COVID-19. Today, when we are in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, Covid-19 has put the entire globe into a slowdown but it looks like India handled the situation relatively well than other big and developed countries. We feel happy that our biotechnology industry is making sincere efforts towards finding solutions to tackle the pandemic with vaccines and medicines with the help from leading biotechnology companies in India.”