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Hospitals told to share COVID-19 data, patients' biospecimen with researchers

The empowered group on ‘Medical Emergency Management Plan’ headed by Dr V K Paul, Member, Niti Aayog (Health), finalised the guidelines for sharing of biospecimen and data for research.

Published: 25th April 2020 02:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2020 11:52 AM   |  A+A-

A health worker wearing a protective suit waits for samples from people for COVID -19 tests at a centre in New Delhi Thursday April 23 2020. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: An empowered group on COVID-19 has directed hospitals to share data and biospecimen related to coronavirus patients in India with researchers and recognised institutions engaged in research within five days.

The empowered group on ‘Medical Emergency Management Plan’ headed by Dr V K Paul, Member, Niti Aayog (Health), finalised the guidelines for sharing of biospecimen and data for research.

“It will be obligatory upon every custodian of biospecimens (the biorepositories and hospitals) to share the biospecimens within the prescribed timeline. The timeline for giving approval should not be more than five working days after receipt of the application. Delays, if any, will be liable for appropriate action and necessary accountability will have to be fixed for the same,” the guidelines read.  

Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, and member of the empowered group told this newspaper, “There is a timeline for providing samples to ensure there are no delays while making sure all required approvals are taken.”

According to the guidelines, scientists and researchers across the globe are working towards development of rapid diagnostic methods, prophylactics and therapeutics for detection, prevention, treatment and management of coronavirus.

The government is committed to providing an enabling research ecosystem in the country to combat COVID-19, said the group.

“Sharing of collected biospecimens and associated data can be vital for addressing the pandemic of Covid-19 as progress in science and technology and subsequent medical research for the development of products is driven by such biological samples. Therefore, rapid and timely dissemination of biospecimen and sharing of associated data must be simple and transparent, without compromising the research interests of the sample providers and confidentiality of the study participants,” it said.   

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