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Foundation stone laid for animal challenge study platform at ILS Bhubaneswar – Times of India

BHUBANESWAR: Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the Animal Challenge Study platform at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) Bhubaneswar for undertaking evaluation studies of potential drug and vaccine candidates. This facility can be used for animal trial of drugs and vaccines.

The Union minister laid the foundation stone through videoconferencing on the occasion of 32nd foundation day of ILS Bhubaneswar. The animal challenge study platform will be set up inside the campus with an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore. It will be funded by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) of the Centre’s department of biotechnology (DBT).

This platform will have biosafety levels-3 (BSL-3) facility for animal study. It will house animals for this purpose. Tests will be done on these animals while developing drugs or vaccine candidates. Once commissioned, this facility will be one of its kinds in the eastern part of the country, said ILS Bhubaneswar director Ajay Parida.

Harsh Vardhan also inaugurated the Bio-repository for the Covid-19 clinical samples at ILS that now holds more than 1000 samples of nasopharyngeal swabs, blood, urine and saliva from 202 Covid patients.

ILS Bhubaneswar has partnered with the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) at Imphal, Manipur, for skill and capacity development of scientific communities of north east region in the area of advanced biotechnology. Students, research scholars and scientists can visit here and take training from this institution. People from ILS can also visit IBSD for research and training purposes.

The Union minister praised the institution for sequencing around 500 viral genomes, conducting tests of 1.5 lakh Covid samples and establishing 17 virus cultures that will enable furthering the research and development efforts of Covid-19 in future. Besides research on cancer biology, infectious diseases and plant sciences, it has also contributed to improving livelihoods of the tribal population, using science and technology applications effectively, he added.

Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said ILS should also focus on marine biotechnology as Odisha has tremendous opportunity for improving the economy and ecology of the state in partnership with other institutions.

Among others, Renu Swarup, secretary, DBT and staff from ILS attended the ceremony.

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