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Opinion

Center identifies 10 laboratories to monitor genomic variations in Sars-CoV-2

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The Center has identified 10 advanced regional laboratories to serve as regional central laboratories for genome sequencing as part of its surveillance strategy to monitor genomic variations in the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes coronavirus disease (Covid-19). . The Union Ministry of Health’s guidance document on genomic sequencing released Monday.

The ministry has also established the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) which will oversee surveillance work on a regular basis and also assist in the development of potential vaccines in the future.

All genomic sequencing data will be maintained in a national database at two sites, the National Institute for Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, West Bengal, and the Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi.

Also read: The center forms a genomic surveillance consortium to control the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus

In addition to knowing the current status of the new Sars-Cov-2 virus variant, the project also aims to establish sentinel surveillance for the early detection of genomic variants with implications for public health and to determine genomic variants in unusual events or trends. as spreading super-events.

While viruses are known and expected to constantly mutate leading to the emergence of new variants, a preliminary analysis based on epidemiological and mathematical models in the UK suggests that this variant is significantly more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with an estimated potential to increase reproductive capacity. number (R0) at 0.4 or more with an estimated increased transmissibility of up to 70%.

However, there is no evidence or experimental indication at this time of an increased severity of infection associated with the new variant mentioned above. Also, to date Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia have reported few cases with the new variant.

Belgium has also reported the new British variant of Sars-Cov-2, according to some unconfirmed reports.

“In addition, very recent press reports revealed the appearance of a second variant in the UK (contacts with travelers from South Africa) and a third variant in Nigeria, suggesting continued evolution of the virus,” said the Health Ministry document. .

“In the event that the UK variant or any other variant mutation is detected in any sample, it will be sent to either of the two Covid virus repositories reported at RCB, Faridabad or NIV, Pune for isolation and cultivation. This can then be shared according to the notified guidelines for the development of trials, which will aid in the validation of diagnoses and also in the testing of vaccines in development … ”, he said.

The nodal unit of the National Center for Disease Control will maintain a database of all samples of the new variants of importance to public health. The data will be epidemiologically analyzed, interpreted and shared with states for investigation, contact tracing, and planning response strategies.

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