The absence of a culture of institutional accountability

A pandemic of the scale and the ferocity of COVID-19 still circulates.

Vaccines, modernized healthcare, state-of-the-art testing facilities and public awareness campaigns require adequate funds. A sizeable amount of money for India’s war of survival against the virus is pledged, at least on paper.

For instance, in 2020, the Centre stated that a sum of Rs 900 crore had been earmarked as a grant to the department of biotechnology(DBT) under the aegis of the Union science ministry to develop vaccine candidates. The corpus of the PM CARES was equally impressive.

The money doesnot appear to has been spent judiciously.

The response to an enquiry by an RTI activist has revealed that the DBT has disbursed less than 13 per cent of the funds it received; worse, Rs 100 crore allocated from the PM CARES fund is yet to reach the Union health ministry, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the DBT.

Considerable sums of public money have been collected with the pledge of offering relief: the PM CARES fund is an example. Substantial amounts have also been spent by governments to reassure citizens that measures, such as research on vaccine development, are in place. Yet, the gap between promise and execution is considerable.

This shows the growing strength that drives the absence of a culture of institutional accountability.

A decisive electoral majority makes governments further immune to transparency. On funds to fight COVID, the gap between promise and execution is considerable.

Mission COVID Suraksha was launched to accelerate Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development. The development of suitable Target Product Profile includes vaccines being introduced through the mission to have preferred characteristics applicable for India. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, approved additional funding towards clinical studies for India’s ‘first-of-its-kind' mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, HGCO19, developed by Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd.

Given the long history of diseases in India, the country has accumulated years of experience and scientific knowledge to prevent and treat them. Increase in the number of biotech incubators will boost research and promote growth of start-ups. more  

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The ability of scientists to rationally engineer organisms using synthetic biology, or “engineering biology” as many prefer to call it, has progressed greatly since high throughput molecular biology techniques became available. Recent rapid advances in engineering biology capabilities are enabling scientific discovery and biomedical development. The ability to respond to stimuli within seconds rather than minutes or an hour, and cell-free systems to help scalably manufacture medicines and diagnostics are on demand. The biotech industry is also required to rapidly advance with heavy investment. The new paradigm promises to provide new pathways to drug discovery and development, portable cell-free solutions for the scalable industrial biomanufacturing of medicines and diagnostics on demand, and new preclinical testing methods. Partnering with science and technology companies could be the key, as they possess the technical expertise to help biotech and biopharma companies navigate and solve the challenges unique to this rapidly advancing field. But the question is whether the biotech and biopharma is ready to reap the rewards and realize the full potential of engineering biology. While engineering biology leverages the application of computational engineering approaches to synthesize and program biological organisms, engineering principles can also be applied to other stages of the biotech/biopharma lifecycle. Companies can tap into their engineering heritage to do precisely that – apply an engineering mindset to solve the problems of biotech commercial development and scalable industrial manufacturing. Engineers and scientists typically have different approaches and goals. Scientists apply the scientific method to test a hypothesis in the pursuit of knowledge. Engineers work to produce concrete solutions to real world problems. Incorporating the latter approach can include the application of iterative, parallelized practices to develop and continuously improve efficient platform processes; and deliberative frameworks and systematic tools to better integrate goal-setting and interdependent problem-solving. Engineering principles could thus help effect the industrialization of biology by providing novel and optimized solutions to manufacturing and other challenges, especially for genomic medicines. This approach would also help enable the development of processes and systems that take into account the entire drug development and manufacturing workflow from end-to-end. These increasingly platform approaches are the key to industrializing biology to discover, develop, and manufacture new therapies at scale. Engineering biology is becoming the one of the most important skills in biotech and working with science and technology companies. Biotech industry is required to remain one of the strongest in the country, providing high-paying jobs and positively boosting the country's overall economy. State and local officials are required to implement programs to expand biotech companies and employment numbers across the country. Programs are to be put in place to support the development of early- and mid-stage companies. Some of the programs may include site and infrastructure grants, low carbon and renewable energy tax credits and utility rebates, as well as sales and use tax discounts, exemptions and refunds. By implementing these programs, state lawmakers can potentially support the biotech industry's growth. Public-private partnerships are also critical to the future growth of the industry. Whether the need is capital, workforce, facilities, innovative ideas to transfer, or supportive business climate legislation, the biotech industry need to work with public and private entities to move cutting-edge research into products for citizens of the country and around the world. An immediate blueprint for how to support the biotech economy and what state policymakers can do to help it flourish in the future is increasingly becoming urgent. more  
India should take it's vaccine research,its mannufacture and maintaining the health and hygiene projects hand in hand. A clean India is very essential for healthy Indians, which would eradicate a number of water and air borne diseases. more  
Manuel Aaron: It is widely perceived that whenever any major calamity like floods, tsunami, earth-quake, hurricane, wars and now Covid, occurs, it is a natural opportunity for the powers that be to help itself and its cronies. While the public grieves, the authorities are happy over the chance to spend money without needing to give accounts to anybody. During the 1999 Kargil war, ordinary patriotic Indians gave mountains of cash and jewels to the Government to win the war. Is there any account for it? While innocent, ordinary people feel and suffer privation for the country, the authorities make hay when the Covid shines. Unfortunately, I dont see any ray of hope. The rot that came about after 1947 is still here. more  
The transmission and mutation rates of SARS-Cov-2 are such that we will face variant after variant. So a need for boosters should be expected, much like we do with the flu vaccine.  The mRNA vaccine technology, thankfully, is very well suited to “updating” the already-approved vaccines by making minimal changes to the vaccines themselves. more  
Accountability has to be at all levels, in democracy the politicians are outside the accountability clause as well as the IAS class obliging them....then who is the monitor???? On Fri, 21 Jan 2022 14:32:06 +0530 Debashish Dutta wrote > more  
NO ONE...... more  
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