COVID-19 cases have only been on the rise. With the non-availability of effective drugs and vaccines, one of the effective ways to control it is to detect it early in patients. However, the task is easier said than done. While a large number of test kits are being produced, they are not enough to conduct testing in large numbers.
Government-run body, C-CAMP or Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platform, has been a key enabler in driving COVID-19 testing as it has been aggressively building, managing and scaling the ecosystem of MSMEs to produce test kits indigenously. However, they might not be enough.
To scale up this production of test kits to a million test kits a day, TCS has come up with a solution to support C-CAMP in achieving that. In a recent announcement, TCS said that it has deployed a blockchain-based digital supply chain platform to drive the ambitious new project launched by C-CAMP.
The Ambitious InDx Project By C-CAMP
Back in September, the government announced its plan to double its testing capacity through a project called Indigenisation of Diagnostics (InDx), which has been anchored at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP). The idea is to indigenously manufacture all the reagents needed for the molecular methods to diagnose COVID-19, including RT-qPCR in bulk quantities and at much lower costs. Supported financially by the Rockefeller Foundation, the project aims at improving access to COVID-19 diagnostics across the country.
As a part of the project, the institution aims to build a robust supply-chain network of Indian MSMEs capable of producing reagents for testing kits and manufacturing testing kits. In doing so, it aims to identify the bottlenecks in the supply chain network, short-falls in the quality levels and any gaps in the ability of these MSMEs to scale up. It would handhold the MSMEs to meet both quality and quantity requirements of the test kits.
The project will not only address the COVID-19 crisis but also help MSMEs to expand their business opportunities and to improve the overall healthcare system by developing high quality and low-cost molecular diagnostics. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, C-CAMP is hopeful of achieving the target of one million kits per day.
Prof Satyajit Mayor, Director of NCBS, Bangalore, said that with this project, they aim to include other new molecular diagnostic methods such as Lateral Flow Assays for COVID-19 testing apart from scaling the saliva-based sampling tests. It would not only help MSMEs to serve the Indian market but export to other needy countries at competitive prices, he added. He is an advisor to the project by C-CAMP.
Apart from this, C-CAMP has also been driving other initiatives such as COVID-19 Innovations Deployment Accelerator or C-CIDA, inviting innovations from across the globe to fight back the raging pandemic. As a part of it, C-CAMP has even identified 31 near deployment-ready COVID-19 innovations such as rapid diagnostic kits, assisted respiratory devices, AI/ML-based pre-screening and more.
How Is TCS Driving This Ambition
To help C-CAMP sail through its ambition of indigenously producing COVID-19 test kits, TCS has partnered with them to develop and deploy a digital supply chain platform to manage the MSME ecosystem. It is powered by the TCS Data Marketplace solution which allows organisations to embrace new ecosystem-based business models while democratising data and monetising it to create value.
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Data Marketplace framework ensures seamless ingestion, curation, classification, cataloguing, and distribution of data. It enables self-help mechanisms for business users to search and discover data, perform analytics, and visualise it in insightful ways.
Further, it facilitates standardised, controlled data exchanges across ecosystem participants with the necessary security and privacy protection. It also uses blockchain at the back-end to ensure the immutability of audit logs.
As explained by the company, C-CAMP has harnessed this capability in the InDx project to build a supply-chain platform that aggregates test kit supply data of tier 2 and 3 manufacturers of kits, enzymes, primers and antibodies. It also provides ready visibility to tier 1 suppliers and C-CAMP on supplier-specific quality levels, capacities and inventories across the ecosystem. It will therefore enable C-CAMP to keep a check and respond to the demand for those kits from the government.
Dinanath Kholkar, Global Head, Analytics and Insights at TCS said that they are delighted to partner with C-CAMP to scale up India’s COVID testing capacity. He believes that it will be a major step in making COVID-19 testing accessible to every Indian.
TCS believes that their data marketplace solution will anchor the InDx’s supplier ecosystem of MSMEs by democratising supplier data, enhancing supply-chain visibility and driving superior outcomes for all stakeholders.
“The success of this initiative sets an example for how ecosystem-based partnerships can be put to work for other mission-mode programs of national importance,” Kholkar further added.
TCS Has Been At The Forefront To Contain COVID-19
Despite initial hiccups caused by the pandemic, TCS was able to resume to pay hikes and ramp-up hiring as the business started to recover post-COVID crisis. Not just on the hiring front, but the company is also ensuring safe workplaces as the offices are resuming post the lockdown. It announced the launch of AI-powered IUX for Workplace Resilience, which is a command centre solution that helps enterprises make it safer for employees and customers to resume work and business.
The solution ensures that strict mandates are followed apart from PPE and social distancing to ensure workforce safety, regulatory support, operational resilience, and customer engagement. It uses images and video to generate insights and maintain optimal in-house and remote staff levels or suggest ways to ensure social distancing.
“With its integrated analytics platform and business command centre, IUX for Workplace Resilience enables them to capture and analyse disparate enterprise and IoT data so they can understand safety and business risks in real-time to maintain business continuity,” said Ashvini Saxena, Global Head, Digital Software & Solutions, TCS in an official statement.
The company had also set up around 11 first-line COVID-19 isolation centres within its premises in various cities to provide medical support to associates and their dependents. TCS has made it their priority to safeguard the health and well-being of employees, which has now further extended to ensuring the safety of the citizens, country-wide.
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Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.