BIRAC-Call For Proposal

DBT and BIRAC Announce Call for Proposals on Anti- SARS-CoV-2 /nCoV-2 Virus Studies using Botanical Ingredients and Traditional Formulations

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in an ongoing pandemic. As of 13 May 2020, more than 4.26 million cases have been reported across 187 countries and territories, resulting in more than 291,000 deaths. 

 SARS-CoV-2 is an envelope, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA β-corona virus and shown similarity with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) viruses. So far as its entry and pathogenicity is concerned, SARS-CoV-2 enters into cells through binding of its spike proteins with host cell receptors, Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and leads to down regulation of the ACE2 receptor. This leads to viral entry and replication, as well as severe lung injury. The occurrence of COVID-19 elevated intense attention not only within India but internationally.  No specific therapeutics is available, and current management includes travel restrictions, lockdown, patient isolation, and supportive medical care. Therefore, there is an urgent need for its management and prevention.  

 There is no specific treatment except managing the symptoms of SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infection). In some countries anti-HIV drugs are being tried while in India antimalarial drug HCQ (Hydroxy Chloroquine) is given as prophylaxis to high risk Health Care Personnel. The available data suggests that there is no specific treatment in modern medicine. Health supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc etc., are being used for the immunity boosting.

 Some traditional medicines appear to be effective in treating viral infection by enhancing the immunity of the body against virus. Also, they are a potential source of antiviral drugs and various bioactive compounds. Randomized clinical trials suggest the possibility to obtain natural product to treat viral infections and its complications from traditional medicinal plants. It is a remarkable effort to isolate active principles from plants with a confirmed antiviral activity that leads to explore their mechanism of action and, lastly, to develop a conventional dosage form design that not only controls viral infections but also reduces the associated complications. 

 The rapid increase in patients of COVID-19 during the last few weeks is posing tremendous challenge for the healthcare systems across the world including India. Effective strategies for prophylaxis and holistic management are of paramount importance in curtailing the progress of the disease and reducing burden on hospitals. 

Click here to view RFP

To manage COVID-19 pandemic through the application of medicinal and aromatic plants, project proposals are solicited by Industry/Academia/ Industry-Academia in following research areas:

(a)   Development of experimental models for evaluation of anti-viral activity of extracts, fractions and phytochemical constituents from medicinal and aromatic plants 

  1. In vitro anti-viral activity (nCoV2, non-infective, pseudo-RNA virus) 

  2. Antiviral (anti-nCoV-2) efficacy in animal model 

  3. MTT / PI / CCK8 assay for cell toxicity

(b)    Screening of extracts, fractions, phytochemical constituents and traditional formulations from medicinal and aromatic plant against SARS-CoV2

  1. Development of research lead candidates based on screening to take forward towards developing phytopharmaceuticals.

  2. Development of phytopharmaceuticals for prevention, co-administration and mainstay therapy 

  3. Development of herbal products for prevention against COVID-19 – Proof-of efficacy, pre-clinical and clinical.

(c)     Studies on extracts, fractions and phytochemical constituents from medicinal & aromatic plants

  1. Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activity (PBMC, Neutrophils, Th1/Th2 driven T-cell responses, antigen presentation 

  2. Effect if any on obesity, diabetes, lung fibrosis and

  3. Drug-drug interaction studies (CYP450 studies)

  4. Essential oils compounds inhibitory to SARS-COV-2 proteins & infections

The proposals can be submitted by:

a.Company (Start-up, Small, Medium or Large) incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013 having a minimum of 51% of the shares of the Company to be held by Indian Citizens (Indian passport holders).

b.Limited liability Partnership (LLP) incorporated under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 having a minimum half of the persons who have subscribed their names to the LLP document as its Partners should be Indian citizens 

    (NOTE: The applicant Company/LLP should have adequate in-house facility to address the project implementation (which shall 

     be evaluated during the proposal evaluation) or incubated with any of the recognized incubation  facility. DSIR certificate is not


c. Academia (Public or Private Research Institute, University) having a well-established support system for research. The institute should have been established in India and have NAAC/ UGC/ AICTE or any equivalent recognition  certificate or any other Public/ Government supported organization 

 Application can be submitted by any of the above entities (a - c) either singly or in collaboration

Proposals for the Scheme is required to be submitted online only. To submit a proposal online, please log on to the BIRAC website ( and DBT Website: (

No Hard Copy to be submitted. Proposals submitted online only would be considered.

Last date for Submission of Proposals : 03rd July, 2020

Details of the scheme including eligibility requirements, categories for proposal submission; guidelines for support as grant  agreement templates etc. are available at


  • Dr Prachi Kaushik, Manager (Investment), BIRAC:
  • Dr Sanjay Saxena, GM & Head (Investment), BIRAC:  
  • Dr. Manoj K. Modi, Scientist ‘E’ DBT:

Announcement Date: 12-06-2020
Last Submission Date: 03-07-2020 12:00 AM

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