Bhubaneswar, Feb 18: Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, participated in the 32nd Foundation Day event of the Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar an autonomous institute of Department of Biotechnology and hailed its scientific achievements during the COVID-19 diagnostic and research.
“The institute has sequenced around 500 viral genomes and established 17 virus cultures that will enable furthering the research and development efforts of COVID-19 in the coming days. DBT-ILS has excelled in basic research in biotechnology in the area of cancer biology, infectious diseases and plant sciences. ILS scientists have contributed improving livelihoods of the tribal population, using science and technology applications effectively” said the minister. Hon’ble minister also appreciated DBT-ILS for testing over 1,50,000 samples from across Odisha.
On the occasion, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gases, said “DBT-ILS is one of the premier institutions in Odisha and Eastern India and the initiatives of DBT-ILS are timely and has implication to societal development.” He stressed that DBT-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.
Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, mentioned about the impressive progress made by DBT-ILS particularly in the area of tribal health and nutrition using multi-omics approach which will have far reaching implications. ILS represents an institution which combines basic and applied research to technology development and application to stakeholders, said Dr. Swarup. Dr. Ajay Parida, Director, ILS gave a detailed presentation on the work carried out in the area of research and development, COVID management, societal work as well as entrepreneurship development.
During the programme, Dr Harsh Vardhan also laid the foundation stone for the Animal Challenge Study platform at DBT-ILS for undertaking evaluation studies of potential drug and vaccine candidates. He inaugurated the Biorepository for the COVID-19 clinical samples at ILS that now holds more than 1000 samples of nasopharyngeal swabs, blood, urine and saliva etc from 202 COVID patients. The ILS-IBSD partnership centre that aims at skill and capacity development of scientific communities of North East region in the area of advanced biotechnology was also dedicated by the Hon’ble Minister. The Himalayan Bioresources Mission was launched Dr. Harsh Vardhan. This mission will carry out advanced research focusing on agriculture, horticulture, medicinal and aromatic plants, livestock and microbial resources, while taking up translational research for societal development.