View this email in the browser 29 Apr 2020
From the IBS Desk

Dear Readers,

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, our lives have changed in ways we had never imagined before. It is only natural to feel scared, stressed and saddened because of it. However, there are measures that we can take to be both physically safe and mentally healthy in these times. This month, we present a range of scientifically-curated resources on COVID-19 to help you stay safe, fight misinformation, keep abreast of the latest scientific developments and nurture your mental health.

In this time of information overload, Gautam Menon’s article tries to bust some common myths and rumours associated with COVID-19 in our society. Unlike these rumoured remedies, measures like physical distancing can save lives and Vijeta Raghuram’s article explains why. While we stay indoors to slow down the COVID-19 outbreak, the scientific and medical communities charge ahead to find ways to fight the novel coronavirus, as explained in this article by Deepak Sinha. Susheela Srinivas describes one such effort from a group of Indian scientists.

Physical distancing and lockdown do not mean that our lives have to stand still. It is essential to make adjustments in our lifestyle to ensure that staying at home all the time doesn’t affect our productivity or our mental well-being. Even though schools, colleges and universities are closed, digital tools highlighted in Charu Rawat’s article can ensure that teacher-student engagements remain uninterrupted. You can find all these articles and more linked below.

IndiaBioscience has several resources for you including infographics, webinars, and podcasts to provide scientifically accurate information on COVID-19. We have also partnered with other institutions sharing the same goal; the website COVID-Gyan is one such initiative. We hope you will find these resources useful. Please share them with your family, friends and colleagues.

As always, we are eager to stay engaged with you. You can write to us anytime at hello@indiabioscience.org, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. We look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe.

Mental Health and COVID-19
COVID-19 and Mental Health: ​“It is important to bring in a sense of cohesiveness”

A catastrophe at the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic affects us not only at the physical level but also leaves an indelible imprint on our mental well-being. We spoke to Biju Viswanath, faculty at the Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, about possible mental-health-related consequences of the present situation and what individuals and families can do to cultivate resilience.

Infographics on Mental Health

These infographics list helpful strategies for dealing with various mental health issues that may arise as a result of exposure to the stress, uncertainty, and fear associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Click each infographic to see a larger version.

A global survey to promote mental health in academia

IndiaBioscience has partnered with Cactus Foundation to understand what brings researchers joy and what causes them immense stress in their work-life, and what research-associated institutions can do to improve the research culture globally. In the current COVID-19 situation, researchers are being expected to get more done, especially if they are working from home. This is an expectation that refuses to acknowledge the new challenges cropping up in their work and personal lives, even as they simultaneously try to navigate a global crisis. If you’re currently involved in research or have been a researcher at some point in your career, please take the survey here.

Article Highlights
Digital Literacy in Midst of an Outbreak
Charu D. Rawat

The COVID-19 crisis and the physical distancing measures to control it have forced educators to connect with their students remotely. As a result, digital tools have become a necessity, not just an accessory, in their pedagogical toolkit. In this article, Charu Dogra Rawat, an educator at Ramjas College, New Delhi, and a digital literacy champion, provides an overview of some of the online platforms and resources that can help educators engage with their students in a bidirectional teaching-learning process, even remotely.

A real-time molecular investigation of coronavirus entry into human cells
Susheela Srinivas

The COVID-19 pandemic has set off a wave of research activities across the world, aimed at finding clues that would allow us to design effective therapeutics and vaccines. In one such effort, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, have initiated a study into the molecular dynamics of the process via which the novel coronavirus attaches to cells of the human respiratory system.

COVID-19: Vaccine development and therapeutic strategies
Deepak Kumar Sinha

While over a million people worldwide are now confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, we do not yet have an empirical cure or a vaccine for this potentially fatal disease. In this article, Deepak Kumar Sinha, Professor at Institute of Biological Sciences, SAGE University, Indore, discusses some of the approaches being taken by researchers around the world to come up with treatment strategies and vaccines for COVID-19.

Going the distance to slow the COVID-19 outbreak
Vijeta Raghuram

A 3‑week long nationwide lockdown is an unprecedented experience for most Indians. Recent scientific studies, including one where researchers carried out large-scale mathematical modelling of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, provide insight into why such extreme measures are imperative in current times.

COVID-19: Busting some Myths
Gautam I. Menon

From colloidal silver to essential oils, myths continue to abound on social media about home-grown remedies to treat or prevent COVID-19. We asked Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University, Sonipat and Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai to lay some of these myths to rest.

How maths helps us battle the spread of infectious diseases
Susheela Srinivas

Contrary to popular belief, mathematics can be an important ally in our battle against pandemics. Here, we discuss some of the early mathematical models of disease transmission, as well as more modern versions that rely on computer-based simulations and factor in complex parameters. Insights gained from such approaches can be used to inform policy decisions related to novel diseases such as COVID-19.

The public-private healthcare gap in the fight against COVID-19
Joel P. Joseph & Leeba Ann Chacko

As India moves through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and puts containment procedures in place, the need for rapid and widespread testing is becoming more and more critical every day. In such a scenario, it is crucial for the public and private healthcare sectors to combine their forces and coordinate their actions.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions
Gautam I. Menon

Do I need to wear a mask every time I step out of the home? What should I do if I have symptoms of cold/​flu? Is this infection going to stay or disappear? We requested Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University, Sonipat and Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, to answer some of the most common questions being asked about the virus and clear up some misconceptions.

COVID-19 Resources

We have compiled here some resources from around the web that can help us learn and understand more about COVID-19 and the present pandemic. As you browse through these, please feel free to share any that you find useful amongst your friends, family, and professional networks. Click on each icon below to learn more.

Initiatives to provide Scientifically Validated Information about COVID-19
COVID-Gyan

This website serves as a hub to bring together a collection of resources in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These resources are generated by public supported research institutions in India and associated programs. The content presented here relies on the best available scientific understanding of the disease and its transmission.

The initiative is the brainchild of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC). Other prominent partners include Vigyan Prasar, IndiaBioscience, and the Bangalore Life Science Cluster (BLiSC, which comprises InStem and C-CAMP, in addition to NCBS-TIFR)

Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19 (ISRC)

Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19 (ISRC) started as a group of Indian scientists who came together voluntarily in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has now grown to include more than 500 scientists, engineers, technologists, doctors, public health researchers, science communicators, journalists and a number of students.

India Alliance COVID-19 Resource Hub

DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance has created a hub of resources about COVID-19 developed by India Alliance and its grantees, which is continuously updated. It includes infographics about COVID-19 in multiple Indian languages as well as a series of webinars with experts discussing various aspects of the pandemic.

Podcasts
Conversation with an expert: Understanding the mathematics of COVID-19 spread

In this series, we talk to experts to understand various aspects of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and research endeavours in this field. Check out this two-part conversation where Shantala Hari Dass (IndiaBioscience, Bangalore) talks to Sitabhra Sinha (Institute of Mathematical Science, Chennai) to understand how to build mathematical models of disease transmission in order to understand the numbers and statistics associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Happy listening!

Grants
Call for Proposals — Indo-US virtual networks for COVID-19
Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, Department of Science and Technology
Deadline 15 May 2020
EMBO Global Investigator Network
EMBO
Deadline 03 June 2020
More Grants
Jobs
Project Associate-II (COVID-19 testing project)
Indian Institute of Toxicology Research
Deadline 29 April 2020
Senior Project Associate (COVID-19 testing project)
Indian Institute of Toxicology Research
Deadline 29 April 2020
More Jobs
Events
CONTAGION: An exhibition by Science Gallery Bengaluru
Science Gallery Bengaluru
Deadline 30 May 2020
Webinar: Science on the pandemic and science through the pandemic
INSA-INYAS Vigyan Setu Webinar Series
2 May 2020
More Events

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