In light of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in a number of countries, the Union health ministry on Tuesday, December 20 urged states to send all Covid-19 positive samples for genome sequencing.
The statement was made in a letter addressed to all states and Union Territories by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. The "sudden spurt of cases" in Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Brazil, and China were mentioned in the letter.
“...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 [Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium] Genome Sequencing Laboratories [IGSLs] that are mapped to the states and UTs,” the health secretary said.
"Therefore, monitoring the trends of existing variants is of crucial importance," he said.
"In view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, the 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," he said.
"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 Laboratories that are mapped to states and UTs," he added.
The ministry said that it is necessary to “gear up whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track variants” through INSACOG’s 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,” it said.
In the meantime, NK Arora, who serves as chair of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), stated that while it is essential to keep a close eye on the situation in China, there is no need to panic.
Arora stated, "There is no need to become overly worried." This is the most crucial component of our genomic surveillance of symptomatic individuals.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today