ILS Bhubaneswar COVID-19 Biorepository
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ILS Bhubaneswar COVID-19 Biorepository

A biorepository unit for the collection and storing of Covid-19 clinical samples will be established in the autonomous institute under the Center’s Department of Biotechnology, the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar.

To improve COVID research, this unit will be one of the 16 repositories to be established by the Centre in various parts of the country.

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For research and development (R&D) purposes, the facility will be used for collecting, storing, and maintaining samples such as nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs, sputum, urine, stool, bronchoalveolar lavage, and blood of COVID-19 patients.

While early diagnosis and containment of infection have been the current focus of the fight against coronavirus, to innovate the much-needed interventions there has been emphasis given on R&D efforts, according to sources. Ajay Parida, ILS Bhubaneswar Director said, “For COVID-19, validated diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics can be developed with the help of having access to such samples.”

He added that also to understand the early predictors of disease severity and immunopathogenesis, the samples will be a valuable resource for related R&D activities.

For the collection, transportation, and storage of the samples, there will be a uniform standard operating procedure prepared soon, said Dr. Parida.

It has been authorized to share the samples stored in the institutes with industry, commercial, and academic entities involved in the development of vaccines, therapeutic, and diagnostics. Only for the complete verification of the purpose of the request and its benefit to the country, this can be done, said ILS Bhubaneswar officials.

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The Institutional Human Ethics Committee and the National Oversight Committee will examine the purpose of sharing clinical specimens by each biorepository and their intended use.

So far, nearly 25,000 tests have been conducted by the ILS Bhubaneswar and it has been involved in the screening of samples for Covid-19 since April 2020. Meanwhile, to provide the biorepositories with access to clinical samples through the designated COVID hospitals to the institute, Dr. Balaram Bhargav, ICMR Director-General has requested Odisha and other states.

The State Government will extend all support to this initiative, said Padipta Mohapatra, the Additional Chief Secretary of Health.