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The Ministry of Science and Technology has allocated over Rs 1,600 crore for COVID-19 related research and product development, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and its public sector undertaking Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) have allocated approximately Rs 1,300 crore for COVID-19 related research and product development, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said in a written response to a question.

Under the COVID-19 research consortium, as a part of the comprehensive efforts to facilitate development of indigenous research solutions to tackle COVID-19, 107 projects were supported in thematic areas of vaccines (17), diagnostics (45), therapeutics (22) and biomedical interventions (23).

To advance biomedical research, the DBT has supported five COVID-19 biorepositories. Further, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG), a consortium of 28 regional sequencing labs, was launched, to ascertain the status of new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Singh said "Mission COVID Suraksha - The Indian COVID-19 vaccine development mission" is being implemented at a total cost of Rs 900 crore.

The mission is supporting the development of COVID-19 vaccine candidates (5), facilities for animal challenge studies (3), facilities for immunogenicity assays (3), clinical trial sites (19).

Additionally, facility enhancement of Bharat Biotech and three public sector undertakings to support augmented production of Covaxin, is also being supported under the mission, Singh said.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) earmarked an amount of approximately Rs 200 crore for COVID-19 related research for implementation through its different programmes, autonomous institutions and statutory bodies like Science and Engineering Research Board and Technology Development Board, he said.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has allocated Rs 10,444.39 lakh (Rs 104.44 crore) from its budgetary support and internal resources for implementing projects related to COVID-19 related research, he said.

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