Send all Covid + samples for genome sequencing: Centre to states

New Delhi: In view of the sudden surge of Covid-19 cases in some countries, Health Ministry on Tuesday requested States and Union Territories to send samples of all positive cases to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) to track the presence of new Covid variants.

The INSACOG is a grouping of 10 National Laboratories that was established by Ministry of Health in December 2020 to carry out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating Covid-19 viruses, and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.

The letter by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan states, “In view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, United States of America, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China, it is essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network.”

“Such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures for the same,” the letter adds.

Further, Bhushan writes, “In this context, all states are requested to ensure that as far as possible samples of all positive cases, on a daily basis, are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLS) that are mapped to the States and UTs.”

Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya will also chair a high level meeting on Wednesday to review the Covid-19 situation in the country.

The Health Ministry also said that it is keeping a sharp watch on the situation along with INSACOG.

UNI

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