Indian scientists partner BRICS group to study SARS-CoV-2 overlap with tuberculosis

Department of Biotechnology under the ministry of science and technology, in collaboration with BRICS countries is implementing a SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium and multi centric programme to study the impact of severe COVID-19 conditions on TB patients.

The SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium is an interdisciplinary collaboration to advance COVID-19 health-relevant knowledge and to contribute to improvements in health outcomes. The consortium will accelerate the translation of genomic data leading to clinical and public health research and interventions from clinical and surveillance samples by utilising the high-end genomic technologies, and epidemiologic and bioinformatics tools for future use in diagnostic assays and tracking transmission dynamics of COVID-19 and other viruses. 
India is being represented by a team consisting of Professor Arindam Maitra, Professor Saumitra Das and Dr Nidhan K Biswas from the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Dr Mohit K Jolly from the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and Dr Ashwin Dalal from the Indian Institute of Science. They will work along with Dr Ana Tereza Ribeiro de Vasconcelos from the National Laboratory for Scientific Computation - LNCC/MCTI from Brazil, Professor Georgii Bazykin from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology of Russia, Professor Mingkun Li fron the Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences from China and Professor Tulio de Oliveira from the University of KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa, forming the consortium.
The second multi centric programme consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from India, Brazil and South Africa who would investigate the impact of severe COVID-19 on transient peripheral immunosuppression and lung hyperinflammation conditions in TB patients for epidemiology and comorbidity. This team consists of Dr Subash Babu, Dr Anuradha Rajamanickam, Dr Banurekha Velayutham and Dr Dina Nair from the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis; Dr Valeria Cavalcanti Rolla from Lapclin-Tb/ Inifiocruz, Dr Bruno de Bezerril Andrade from IMU, LIB, MONSTER/ IGMFIOCRUZ, Dr Adriano Gomes da Silva from LAPCLIN-TB/ INIFIOCRUZ and Dr Maria Cristina Lourenço from LBB/ INI-FIOCRUZ of Brazil and Dr Bavesh Kana, Dr Bhavna Gordhan, Dr Neil Martinson and Dr. Ziyaad Waja rom the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
This collaborative study is expected to provide valuable co-morbidity data pertaining to pulmonary TB patients with or without SARS-CoV-2 co-infection that is expected to be generated for better disease management.
Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, said the department has taken small steps in the right direction towards collaboration with BRICS countries. She also remarked that the department has plans to expend the BRICS programme.