"Our institutions have also been collaborating to promote Ayurveda through joint research, teaching and training programmes," said Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. (Illustration: iStock)

Researchers in India and the US could soon initiate “joint clinical trials” for Ayurvedic formulations against the novel coronavirus, a top Indian diplomat has revealed.

A strong network of institutional engagements had brought the scientific communities in the two countries together in the fight against Covid-19, said Indian ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu during a virtual interaction with eminent Indian-American scientists, academicians and doctors on Wednesday (July 8).

“Our institutions have also been collaborating to promote Ayurveda through joint research, teaching and training programmes,” he said.  “Ayurvedic practitioners and researchers in both the countries are planning to initiate joint clinical trials of Ayurvedic formulations against Covid-19.

“Our scientists have been exchanging knowledge and research resources on this front.”

The Indo-US Science Technology Forum (IUSSTF) had recently given a call to support joint research and start-up engagements to address Covid-related challenges.

Furthermore, Sandhu said, experts in both countries were reviewing a large number of scientific proposals in fast-track mode.

“Indian pharmaceutical companies are global leaders in producing affordable low-cost medicines and vaccines and will play an important role in the fight against this pandemic,” he added.

According to the ambassador, there were at least three ongoing collaborations between Indian vaccine companies with US-based institutions.

Stressing that innovation will be the key driver in pandemic response and recovery, he said tech companies and start-ups had already begun to take the lead in this direction.

“Telemedicine and telehealth will evolve as will other digital platforms across sectors,” he said.

Sandhu added that India was engaging in a wide spectrum of research areas to create health care solutions, and there were over 200 ongoing projects funded by America’s National Institutes of Health in India.

“As I speak, the VAP (Vaccine Action Programme) meeting is in progress where experts from both countries are deeply engaged in technical discussions to expedite development of Covid-19 vaccine,” Sandhu noted.

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