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Home >News >India >ICMR asks states to share data of genome sequencing of SARS CoV2 virus

ICMR asks states to share data of genome sequencing of SARS CoV2 virus

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A health worker collects samples for COVID-19 testing, amid a surge in coronavirus cases, in Amravati, Maharashtra.

  • Covid 19 virus has been mutating and various mutations have been found in many countries as well as in India
  • States like Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan have shown the presence of mutant variants

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has asked states to share the data of genome sequencing of SARS CoV2 virus to ascertain if the current surge in covid-19 cases in some states can be attributed to mutant strains.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has asked states to share the data of genome sequencing of SARS CoV2 virus to ascertain if the current surge in covid-19 cases in some states can be attributed to mutant strains.

Over 1,189 samples in India have so far tested positive for mutant SARS COV-2 virus that causes covid-19, the union health ministry said on Friday. While 1109 samples were detected with UK variant; 79 samples as South African variant and one sample was found to be the Brazil variant, the government said.

Over 1,189 samples in India have so far tested positive for mutant SARS COV-2 virus that causes covid-19, the union health ministry said on Friday. While 1109 samples were detected with UK variant; 79 samples as South African variant and one sample was found to be the Brazil variant, the government said.

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Covid 19 virus has been mutating and various mutations have been found in many countries as well as in India, these include UK (17 mutations), Brazil (17 mutations), and South Africa (12 mutations) variants. These variants have higher transmissibility. The UK Variant has been found extensively in UK, all across Europe and has spread to Asia and America.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is a network of ten laboratories established in December 2020 for continuously monitoring the genomic changes of SARS-CoV-2 in India, through Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS).

States like Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan have shown the presence of mutant variants. Recently, the INSACOG guidelines were again shared with the States and States were advised to send samples for genome sequencing by also providing clinical data of positive persons.

“This will enable a great epidemiological insight into the link of the surge at various places to the variants; as well as enable INSACOG to discover other variants of concern, if present in the community. Many States, including Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan and Kerala have not yet shared the data with national centre for disease control (NCDC), though Punjab and Delhi have shared such data," the union health ministry said.

The Double mutation (2 mutations) is another variant and has been found in several countries like Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, USA. Higher transmissibility of this variant is not established as yet, the government said.

“The RT PCR tests being used in India do not miss these mutations as the RTPCR tests being used in India target more than two genes. Sensitivity and specificity of the RTPCR tests remains the same as earlier," said the union health ministry in a statement. “The detection of these mutations does not change the strategy of management which remains to test, track, trace and treat. The use of masks remains as the most important shield to prevent the spread of Covid 19," it said.

The covid-19 cases continue to rise in India crossing the 2 lakh mark. Meanwhile, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Friday said that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Taking to Twitter, the Union Minister said, "I have tested #COVID positive today. All those who have come in contact with me in the last 2-3 days may please get themselves tested." The Union Minister had received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine last month at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune.

As the cases continue to rise in all states across India, several states have imposed lockdowns to control the spread of virus. The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday announced Sunday lockdown in the state. The restrictions will come into effect at 8 PM Saturday night and remain in place till Monday 7 AM, however all essential services will be exempted from the restrictions.

Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh along with Maharashtra are the only three States in the country which have more than one lakh Active Cases. Both Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh are reporting very high number of daily new covid-19 cases and high deaths caused by covid-19.

Chhattisgarh Government has made it mandatory for all passengers entering the state by air or railways to carry negative RTPCR report that is not older than 72 hours. Meanwhile, Mumbai's civic body has taken over four- and five-star hotels to accommodate patients with no or mild symptoms.

To curb the second covid-19 wave, the Rajasthan Government on Thursday night announced a weekend curfew from Friday 6 P.M. to Monday 5 A.M. However, emergency services such as milk and LPG supply, banking services will be exempted.

Amid spiralling COVID cases, Sawai Man Singh Medical College, Jaipur issued a covid-19 management protocol 2021 in which it has appealed to doctors to use remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, and liquid medical oxygen (LMO) judiciously as its demand has gone up. The health department has imposed a ban on over-the-counter sale of remdesivir from chemists to prevent black-marketing, while for continuous supply of LMO, the health department has written to collectors to keep stock and issued letter to industry department asking them to send a list of industries producing LMO in the state.

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