The IT industry has driven India’s economic growth since inception and apparently in difficult times like this when the COVID-19 pandemic is risking thousands of lives in the country, the tech firms are rising in response to it. Though many believe that as coronavirus is wiping out many jobs across different sectors, IT industry might also get badly affected by it. However, the Indian information technology (IT) services firms are unlikely to conduct any major layoff of jobs, given the sensitivity of the issue.
Moreover, the three key players of India’s IT industry have come up with a rather innovative approach to combat pandemic. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cognizant Technology Solutions and Persistent Systems have emerged on the frontlines in response current crisis. The three IT gems are providing help to the governments as well as drug developers in identifying new molecules to combat the pandemic. They are also helping such companies to create simulations on how the virus spreads and build digital tools for clinical trials.
At the TCS’s Innovation Lab placed in Hyderabad, researchers and scientists are using disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) in order to discover new molecules to target the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2.
As noted by Economics Times, the lab has identified nearly 30 candidates from existing molecules that could potentially be used as drugs. TCS is also collaborating with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to test and synthesise chemical compounds that can lead to new drug development.
Ananth Krishnan, chief technology officer of TCS says, “The collaboration between TCS and CSIR is a standing example of public-private partnership in tackling a problem of national importance. De-novo drug candidate design is the first step in a long sequence of steps to find a cure to (the) Covid-19 (pandemic).”
Moreover, the company claims, the use of AI has reduced the initial drug design process from years to a few days. Not only have these firms been working as technology partners, they have also deployed software engineers, data scientists and medical experts to find ways to stop the spread of the pandemic.
On the other hand, Cognizant is also working with clients to improve the supply chain in order to make ventilators and other medical devices and manage clinical data for drug trials for a pharma and biotechnology company.
Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, chairman and MD, Cognizant India said the company’s work in developing life-saving technologies will “directly impact the trajectory of this pandemic”.
He further added, “We are delivering critical services to a life sciences supplier for fast-tracking Covid-19 diagnostic kits, providing essential support to a global leader in medical devices that produces much-needed Covid-19 ventilators and other devices. Our work with a leading biotechnology firm is helping to expedite clinical Covid-19 trials and supporting a compassionate use portal for healthcare professionals.”
Furthermore, the mid-tier IT services provider Persistent Systems is helping Biocomplexity Institute, a research organization specializing in bioinformatics at the University of Virginia, to identify patterns that can help predict the spread of the virus.
The institute’s disease simulation platform has been used to study the spread of diseases like Ebola in the past. In January, this platform was improved upon to make projections for the Covid-19 outbreak.
Anand Deshpande, chairman of Persistent Systems said, “In case of Covid-19, the numbers are quite high. For instance, one person is likely to affect four people and it may not immediately be known. So, all these models and parameters need to be adjusted depending on the context. Once you get the model with the parameters, you have to validate it with how they are behaving in real life.”
Moreover, in this moment of need, Wipro Digital has assembled a collection of relevant capabilities and thought leadership that can help companies minimize business disruption while ensuring their employees’ well-being.
Applicable across industries, these capabilities focus on critical aspects of business continuity to help enterprises react, recover and retain their organizational agility. The company has organized them into four key areas: Managing the Employee and Workforce Experience, Leveraging Digital Technologies, Optimizing and Reimagining IT, and Increasing Organizational Resilience.
In terms of leveraging disrupting technologies, the things Wipro is keeping in mind are: Address COVID-19 with HOLMES Assistant for Researcher; An AI-Powered Bot to Answer Your COVID-19 Questions; Creating a Conversational Interface for Bot Adoption; Enabling Remote Device Management for a Biotech Leader; How AI Can Reduce Response Times to the Pandemic; Now is the Time to Design What Matters; Overcome Sales Disruptions with eCommerce as a Service; The Paperless Enterprise is Key to Remote Business; and Scale and Test Remotely with Digital Assurance as a Service.