All positive samples of COVID to go for genome sequencing

Delhi Civil Defence volunteers arranging swab samples of passengers for conducting RT-PCR test of covid-19 pandemic, at Delhi Cantt Railway station in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

In a first of its kind move in the city, the Delhi government has asked districts to send all positive samples of COVID-19 for genome sequencing, said officials.

On August 18, The Hindu had reported that there was a 93% fall in the number of samples for which COVID-19 genome sequencing was done in June, compared to April. The current decision was taken by the government on the same day.

“All districts have been told to send all positive COVID-19 samples for genome sequencing. Right now, our daily new cases are in single digits and we have started sending all such samples directly to the lab assigned to us,” a district official said.

The districts have been asked to send the samples to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Lok Nayak Hospital, and Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, the official said.

“Right now, a new wave is possible only with a new variant and this will help us identify the new variants,” the official added.

The development was confirmed by a second official who said they received the communication on August 18 and started sending samples from last week.

“Since the cases are less now, this is a good move and will help us discover new variants early and help to fight the virus,” said Jugal Kishore, head of Community Medicine Department at Safdarjung Hospital. He added that before the second wave, the government took a lot of time to figure out the Delta variant and that contributed to the chaos.

Like other viruses, COVID-19 is constantly changing and genetic variations occur over time, which can lead to new variants.

Scientists use a process called genomic sequencing to decode the genes and learn more about the virus.

Genomic sequencing allows scientists to identify a virus and monitor how it changes over time into new variants, understand how these changes affect the characteristics of the virus, and use this information to better understand how it might impact health, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 9:02:34 PM |

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