Consortium of national labs to upscale genome sequencing

A consortium of national laboratories across four city clusters of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune performing genomic surveillance of coronavirus is in the process of upscaling the work as part of the national efforts led by Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), said top scientist Rakesh Mishra, the former director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) on Friday.

Dr. Mishra, who is now the director of Tata Institute for Genetics and Society and is continuing to conduct research at his lab here, said the consortium is “continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible”.

Apart from the CCMB and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bengaluru, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, and the Pune Knowledge Cluster-Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, also in Pune.

Such an intensified effort enabled the NCBS, also a member-laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with the Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the Omicron variant in samples from two coronavirus-infected individuals on Thursday.

NCBS’s Satyajit Mayor conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Central government released a statement within four days of receiving the samples. Both the SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, he said.

“This will aid in rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern,” said Dr. Mishra

The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the CCMB, said a press release.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 7:01:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/consortium-of-national-labs-to-upscale-genome-sequencing/article37826335.ece

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