Suryakant Jena

In order to strengthen its fight-back mechanism ahead of a possible third wave of Covid pandemic, the Odisha government is setting up better laboratory testing infrastructure in districts across the State. The Odisha government will extend RT-PCR test facility to all its districts from August 15, Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra told reporters on Wednesday.

As many as 16 districts in Odisha did not have RTPCR test laboratories of their own and were forced to send samples to other places. Now preparation works have reached final stages for establishing such labs at all districts in the State. They are likely to begin functioning from August 15.

Mishra explained that in order to ensure RTPCR test facility, a BSL-II laboratory set up is necessary. Tenders have been awarded and installation of equipment and other instruments is underway. 

On the NCDC's directive for initiating genome sequencing at the district level, Mishra said all sentinel sites and laboratories have been asked to send 10 percent of the positive samples, which are exhibiting CT value less than 25, to the ILS, Bhubaneswar for genome sequencing. 

As the DCGI has given nod to a study on mixing Covaxin and Covishield vaccines in India, Mishra said the official high power committee on Covid vaccination will take the final call on the implementation of the formula. Only then the States will have the authority to act, said Mishra.