A live webinar on ‘Understanding Coronavirus’ was organized by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of Rajasthan in collaboration with the IAS Literary Society, Rajasthan. The webinar, hosted on the Facebook page of IAS Literary Society, Rajasthan, was addressed by Scientist, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi, Dr. Rajesh Pandey. He was in conversation with Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Rajasthan, Ms. Mugdha Sinha. The webinar was held as a part of the YASH (Year of Awareness on Science and Health), 2020 Dialogue Series. It offered an in-depth understanding of Coronavirus as well as the what, why, how and when of genome sequencing.
Dr. Pandey said that the central dogma can be defined as DNA makes RNA, which in turn makes protein. There are two types of viruses – DNA and RNA which can be further classified into double or single-stranded with a positive or negative-sense. Coronavirus is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. This virus is the 7th species of its kind which has infected humans. Its genome makes 10 proteins and depends on host proteins for survival and replication. RNA virus has a smaller genome than a DNA virus with a higher mutation rate. Apart from Coronavirus, other examples of this type of virus includes – Hepatitis C, HIV and Influenzavirus.
Talking about the factors affecting the treatment of Coronavirus, he highlighted factors like the different strains of the virus, population diversity, environmental diversity, susceptibility to infection and diversity in the severity of the infection. The virus can enter through various points like mouth, nose, eyes, lungs, gut, etc. Furthermore, cytokines are signalling molecules that detect a pathogen breach, increase inflammation and defend the host. They help in regulating one’s immunity, he said.
Talking about ‘Feluda’, the Covid-19 paper-strip test, Dr. Pandey said that the test has been developed by CSIR-IGIB and will be released any day now. It has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch. The test represents simplicity with regard to time and access and the cost is also much lower. It works similar to a pregnancy test.
Photo Caption: (From L-R) Scientist, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, Dr. Rajesh Pandey in conversation with Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Rajasthan, Ms. Mugdha Sinha during the live webinar on ‘Understanding Coronavirus’ hosted on the Facebook page of IAS Literary Society, Rajasthan.