Scientists should be prepared to face Covid like challenges

Bhubaneswar: Covid like challenges are likely to confront humanity again and again but scientists should be prepared to face the same and find ways to counter it, an eminent researcher said on Friday.
“Health concerns like the fallout of Covid-19 will emerge now and then, but it is for scientists to find answers to the challenge,” Prof. (Dr.) E. Venkata Rao, Professor of Community Medicine at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here said while addressing the inaugural program of a day-long workshop at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPS), faculty of pharmaceutical sciences of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) here.
Prof. Rao, who was the Principal Investigator of the human trial of the Covid vaccine ‘Covaxin’ and the nasal Covid vaccine conducted at IMS and SUM Hospital, SOA’s faculty of medicine, was the chief guest at the program.
The workshop was organised by SOA-DBT-Builder National Laboratory developed at SPS recently under the DBT-Builder scheme. Under the scheme, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) provides support to establish interdisciplinary School of Life Sciences for advanced research and education in universities which is known as DBT-Boost to University Interdisciplinary Life Science Departments for Education and Research (BUILDER) for advanced research and education.
Hailing the DBT-Builder scheme for providing the platform for young researchers and firing their imagination, Prof. Rao said every human being is conceived as a female first and it is only in the 6th or 7th week of intra-uterine life that testosterone is secreted due to the direction of ‘XY’ chromosomes to develop the foetus into a male.
“Similarly, every human being is born as a researcher but the ability to question is lost somewhere on the way,” he said adding programs such as DBT-Builder would help young minds to blossom into fine researchers.
Stressing the need to encourage young people to take to research, he said he was amazed when the Director of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Hyderabad once appointed two professors to receive a Class 12 student visiting the institute. “When I asked him about it, he said that there was a need to make an aspiring researcher feel special and fire her imagination,” he said.

Emphasising the need for collaboration among research institutions, Prof. Rao said if they decide to work independently it would not benefit anyone or solve any problem.
Prof. S.C.Si, Dean of SPS, presided over the inaugural program which was followed by a 2-hour lecture on ‘Flow-Cytometer: Working Principle and Applications’. Subsequently, a 3-hour hands-on training on the instrument was imparted by Dr. Saket Siddharth, Scientist-II, Field Application, Asia Pacific and Japan, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Mr. Sourav Chowdhury, Software Testing Manager, Research and Development, of the same organization.

The lecture and training sessions were followed by queries, discussion, trouble shooting and assessment. Around 25 students and research scholars representing universities from different states attended the workshop.

Prof. Goutam Rath, Coordinator of the program, was present while Prof. B.B.Subudhi moderated the proceedings.