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Bengaluru: The endogenous manufacturing of CRISPR components, through greater research, would make India a commercially successful country in the field of Deep Science, according to Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO & MD, Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd.

Participating in a panel discussion on ‘Gene-Editing On Centre Stage’ at the ‘Bengaluru Tech Summit 2021’, he opined that the therapeutics R&D are slow in India as compared to the West, hence seeking deeper research experiences is significant. The country also needs to address associated infrastructural issues like the building of cold storages, expanding supply chains and the sorts, he told.

“The misconception amongst people that CRISPR is meant for therapeutic and not diagnostic purposes and that it needs to change. With basic technology and market being the most crucial focal points, large number of its applications are to be looked at, serving both urban and rural India,” said Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd CEO & MD Girish Krishnamurthy.

Though grants are channelized from the Department of Biotechnology, Dr. Saravanabhavan Thangavel, Assistant Investigator, Centre for Stem Cell Research, discussed about the difficulty in attracting private funds to expand the CRISPR technology that deals with almost all primary deficiencies.

Talking about the guidelines existing on Therapeutic diagnostics and products, Dr. Shambhavi Nayak, Head of Research, Takshashila Institution expressed the vagueness in the policy.

“The Government should move to a facilitator role, making markets more accessible” she added, referring to the potential for Gene-Editing in itself as a boon,” said Takshashila Institution Head of Research Dr. Shambhavi Nayak.

Dr. Vaijayanti Gupta, Lead Scientist, CrisprBits Pvt Ltd., emphasised on the importance of understanding the licensing, patent rights, legal and ethical framework and the overall impact on health and well-being.

“As CRISPR is trying to hit single-cell and rapid diagnostics, investments from private sector are essential to allow this space to develop from market angle,” said CrisprBits Pvt Ltd. Lead Scientist Dr. Vaijayanti Gupta.

Working on CRISPR in plants, particularly banana, Dr. Siddharth Tiwari, Scientist, National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, said the enzymes used to target carotenes development are of prime significance.

“While the releasing of genetically engineered crops in India is in the hands of Government, the non-transgenic approach is being preferred recently,” he told and stressed the need for a sustained effort to support the endeavors that can bring it to the common man.

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