Bhubaneswar: Odisha-based Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) Deemed to be University in Bhubaneswar has emerged as a key warrior in the fight against the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

SOA, which ranked 24th in the country among universities by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIR), has chosen to plunge headlong into the battle.

The Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, SOA’s faculty of medicine, has joined hands with the Odisha government to set up three stand-alone COVID-19 Hospitals in the state to exclusively treat patients afflicted by the deadly coronavirus.

The Odisha government, sensing the danger rather early, had moved fast in putting the barriers in place to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. But over 100 positive cases had been detected in the State with one patient succumbing to the virus. The State was the first in the country to decide to go for exclusive COVID-19 Hospitals to ensure that those infected with the infection were not required to be put in the general mix of patients requiring hospital care.

SOA was among the first institutions to offer its services and signed a tripartite agreement with the State government and the public sector Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) to establish the largest COVID-19 Hospital in the State in Bhubaneswar. The 525-bed hospital, the first of the three to come up, was inaugurated on April 6 in a classy four-storied complex of the university little away from the IMS and SUM Hospital with a separate entrance. The hospital has 500 general beds besides a 25-bed fully equipped ICU.

While the hospital has been established with MCL support, IMS and SUM Hospital would be responsible for patient and critical care and extend the required infrastructure including laboratory and radiological support. Doctors, nurses and paramedics from IMS and SUM Hospital have been manning the hospital. The State government has said that all patients would receive free treatment in the exclusive COVID-19 Hospitals.