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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46-47

Research and development priorities in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission19-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance12-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication5-May-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_70_20

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  Abstract 


The number of cases reported in the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to rise across the world. The primary reason due to which the disease is able to produce so much disastrous impact is its novel nature, as the virus was detected for the first time and even now there are many epidemiological, clinical and virological characteristics which are not known about the disease. All the available facts clearly suggest the need that we have to strengthen the research and development sector immensely, otherwise the disease will continue to claim lives of thousands of more people and will eventually break the health system of each and every nation and negatively impact the economy of the nations as well. In conclusion, research and development is a primary focus of interest for all the stakeholders involved in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. The need of the hour is to expedite the entire process and utilize the research findings in ensuring better prevention and effective treatment of the cases of the disease.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Research, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Research and development priorities in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. J Sci Soc 2021;48:46-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Research and development priorities in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 17];48:46-7. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2021/48/1/46/315455




  Introduction Top


The number of cases reported in the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to rise across the world and it has resulted in a sense of complete shock and disbelief as the infection has just overwhelmed the health-care delivery system of the most developed nations.[1] In fact, as on July 18, 2020, a cumulative total of 13,876,441 cases and 593,087 deaths have been reported due to this novel infection and it presents a very grim picture in all the affected nations.[2] The primary reason due to which the disease is able to produce so much disastrous impact is its novel nature, as the virus was detected for the first time and even now there are many epidemiological, clinical, and virological characteristics which are not known about the disease. This makes the entire task of prevention and control of the infection very challenging, but then at the same time, the disease is highly contagious and fatal as well in comparison to the other disease outbreaks from the viruses of the same family in the past.[1],[3]


  Necessity to strengthen research Top


Moreover, we are still not knowing about the different potential factors, which enhances the predisposition of a person to acquire the infection other than close contact. Further, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the various modes, in which the disease can be transmitted and reports have come about the fecal excretion of the virus as well. All these literatures and facts clearly suggest the need that we have to strengthen the research and development sector immensely; otherwise, the disease will continue to claim lives of thousands of more people and will eventually break the health system of each and every nation and negatively impact the economy of the nations as well.[4]


  Research and Development Priorities Top


A range of research and development priorities have been identified, and it has been suggested that the research activities need to be extensively fast-tracked to improve our response against the disease.[3],[4] The first and foremost thing to improve our preparedness and response against the novel virus, there is an immense need to develop rapid point of care diagnostic tools which can be employed in the community settings itself as this will aid in the immediate diagnosis, followed by isolation and provision of appropriate treatment. In fact, in the same encounter, if the case is detected, the contact can be immediately identified and even quarantined, thereby reducing the load on the health sector. The epidemiological data obtained from the treatment of the patients in various settings should be analyzed and the obtained results can definitely improve the treatment approaches to the patients and thus improve the chances of survival and well-being.[3],[4]

Further, as there is no available therapeutic option, there is a definite need to evaluate the effectiveness of supportive therapies (viz. steroids or high flow oxygen) and based on the results of the research they can be employed in an evidence-based manner in the care of the patients. As the health-care personnel are the first line of defense against the infection, it is our responsibility to safeguard their health and safety. Amidst all the uncertainties, the only mode of prevention available for them is the use of personal protective equipment. However, once again, we are not very much sure about the effectiveness of these measures in reducing the likelihood of acquisition of infection and thus it warrants extensive research in this arena.[3],[4]

At Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Deemed-to-be-University, Puducherry and in its constituent colleges, priority has been given towards carrying out research activities pertaining to various aspects of COVID-19. In-fact, the faculty members have been encouraged to perform research and a sort of financial aid has also been granted to expedite the research activities.


  Gains accomplished Top


Till now, we have not been successful in identifying the life cycle of the virus or its probable source of origin, and thus there is a definitive need to understand the possibility of animal origin, as that will aid in mounting a better public health response against the disease. The best bet for reducing the caseload is via the development of a potent vaccine, but obviously, it will require extensive collaboration and financial assistance from the different stakeholders to expedite the process. It is extremely important to improve the transparency in the entire research process and to ensure that all the findings pertaining to the ongoing research are shared between different research agencies, keeping the interests of mankind in mind.[1],[3],[4]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, research and development is a primary focus of interest for all the stakeholders involved in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. The need of the hour is to expedite the entire process and utilize the research findings in ensuring better prevention and effective treatment of the cases of the disease.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Ward MP, Li X, Tian K. Novel coronavirus 2019, an emerging public health emergency. Transbound Emerg Dis 2020;67:469-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 180; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200718-covid-19-sitrep-180.pdf?sfvrsn=39b31718_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 19].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization; 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. COVID 19 Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)-Global Research and Innovation Forum: Towards a Research Roadmap. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2020. p. 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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