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Omicron Variants: How is India’s Genome Sequencing System?

covid-19 Why genome scavenging is important in the fight against, Is India doing enough sequencing,, According to a Bloomberg report, India has done sequencing only 0.3 of its total positive cases so far. As per official reports shared with PTI, 468 samples from Delhi were analyzed between 21-28, 38 percent were classified as the Omicron variant. on a personal level, Once Omicron Has Spread Rapidly, So there is only a small clinical value to knowing Omicron vs. Delta. Treatment will be the same at this time except for the monoclonal antibody. Serious illness can happen to anyone, However with Omicron it is less likely.”

Anushka Rajesh

With the rise of Omicron variants around the world, scientists, There has been a renewed interest among health officials and the general public to know what is new when it comes to the COVID-19 virus. on 30 December, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told in a press conference how according to the new genome sequencing report, In Delhi, 46 percent of the cases of Kovid-19 were of Omicron variant.

In another news report, Associate Professor, Department of Infectious Diseases, Amrita Hospital, Dr Deepu TS, told IANS,According to data from the Global Initiative (an open access resource for viral genomics), after sharing all influenza data –. The Omicron has become the most common variant in India and has surpassed all other variants. During the last few days of December, Omicron variants were discovered in about 60 percent of the samples sequenced in India.

where does this data come from,

How many samples of positive cases have actually been sequenced for the variant in India?,

in India ,third wave, how much of that is actually from the new variant, The answers to these questions are not easy.

Genome sequencing in India

Genome sequencing is the process, Through which the DNA of a virus is studied to identify mutations and measure its spread and behavior., at the end of 2021, It was the result of their robust genome sequencing program that South Africa was able to detect and report Omicron variants.

covid-19The critical role of genome sequencing in the fight against TB was recognized by countries as the world emerged from the first wave and prepared for more infectious variants. but south africa, Israel, Apart from a few countries like the UK and other countries in Europe, The virus surveillance system of countries around the world, including India, has been consistently zero.

for starters, Covid in India19Efforts are needed to obtain any information about genome sequencing. One reason for this could also be that genome sequencing is done centrally in India.

Dr. Gautam Menon, Professor, Department of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University explains,in India INSACOG The network of Key Labs is responsible for sequencing, And INSACOG All covid-19The nodal agency for sequencing is, So these results should ultimately be derived from, Even if states have access to these results.” however, This data is very silent and is not available in the public domain.

in previous article, Experts gathered centrally in India for Kovid-19About lack of access to data, and how it gets in the way of making effective science-based interventions, Spoke to The Quint on this. But why is this data important, Does anyone even need to know which covid they are Variants are infected with,

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Which variant am I infected with?,

the thing is that, Noticing that the symptoms and treatment are not different as an individual, There is not much to be gained by knowing which variant of Kovid you have been infected with. An institute of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr Anurag Agarwal, Director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, reiterated this.,

on a personal level, Once Omicron Has Spread Rapidly, So there is only a small clinical value to knowing Omicron vs. Delta. Treatment will be the same at this time except for the monoclonal antibody. Serious illness can happen to anyone, However with Omicron it is less likely.”

and yet, Genome sequencing worldwide Kovid-19Has been at the core of the fight against the pandemic.

What makes genome sequencing an important tool,

Dr Anurag Aggarwal explains,like always, Sequencing will help identify further changes in the virus, Which cannot be done any other way.” Dr Aggarwal says, “Genome sequencing will help guide the degree of penetration of Omicron into communities. Genome sequencing is also being encouraged in situations such as the use of monoclonal antibodies., who work against delta, But Omicron Health Ministry is validating and offering such tests.”

therefore, A robust virus surveillance system with efficient genome sequencing could help us stay ahead, If it’s not a step ahead of the virus being a mutation, and can help us identify community infections to implement targeted interventions.

This brings us to the question why India’s genome sequencing rate is still so low,

Very little, too late

The low number of sample sequencing was a concern that experts raised during the disastrous second wave with the delta variant and yet, It didn’t seem like much had changed.

According to a Bloomberg report, India has done sequencing only 0.3 of its total positive cases so far. As per official reports shared with PTI, 468 samples from Delhi were analyzed between 21-28, 38 percent were classified as the Omicron variant.

same week, 2,814 positive Kovid in Delhi-19Cases were registered. But, According to Dr Aggarwal,Sequencing of selected samples is done with good reason. Genomic sequencing is on the obtained samples, which are not all samples, passengers, High risk samples like contacts are given priority for sequencing.

Dr. Anurag Agarwal, In addition, tell,To study one type of community spread, only a fraction of the positive cases need to be sequenced. State statistics about the percentage of Omicron cases are inferred from the small number of sequencing samples., but it works, It is a projection with reasonable accuracy – as the percentage will be almost the same.”

Still, This raises the question as to what is stopping India from accelerating the sequencing, If it can help to better understand the third covid wave, One reason for this may be the highly centralized nature of the process.

Apart from Maharashtra and Kerala, all the states COVID positive samples indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) send to a handful of laboratories run by the Center under, Which makes for a serious bottle neck.

Actually, Experts in India are lobbying to allow more private hospitals and even states to conduct these tests. While there have been some efforts to expand testing capacity—Rajasthan has also developed state-run facilities for genome sequencing—this time too the numbers are low.

According to Dr. Gautam Menon, In a country like India, giving such a short amount of time to genome sequencing is not an easy feat. they say,“The difference is largely in capacity and manpower and not so much technology. With better indexing capabilities in smaller countries, Sequencing every positive case or at least a good part of them is possible.”

Dr. Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, said, “It is not easy to accelerate sequencing suddenly. It requires trained manpower, Also the government should open up testing to private laboratories to have suitable capacity – this will help bridge the testing shortage.

But, According to Dr Aggarwal, Efforts are being made to broaden India’s scope of sequencing capabilities. He said “Since Omicron has two lineages in India (Ba.1 and Ba.2) and S-gene dropout tests from abroad identify only Ba.1, India is developing better indigenous tests that can detect both. (courtesy-thequint)

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