To detect mutant pressure, genome testing in 5% instances

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28

The Centre today launched a genomics consortium to roll out a national plan for conducting genome sequencing of Covid positive samples to study any potential mutations and understand if local outbreaks are caused by transmission of single or multiple viral lineages.

Under the scanner

  • UK returnees who test Covid positive

  • Positive cases either participating in vaccine trials or already vaccinated

  • Infected passengers who arrived in India after Nov 23

Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences is critical as it would allow the Health Ministry to study the evolution of the virus and assess whether the viral mutations influence transmission, clinical outcomes, severity, or if they impact public health interventions and vaccine efficacy. Ten designated laboratories spread across the country will cater to the nearest states which will send 5 per cent of the positive samples to these labs for genome sequencing.

The consortium was considered critical after the United Kingdom faced a spike in cases due to a new mutation.

The ministry said: “The United Kingdom variant is significantly more transmissible with an estimated potential to increase the reproductive number (R) by 0.4 or greater with an estimated increased transmissibility of up to 70 per cent.”

Meanwhile, 20,021 fresh infections and 279 fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours. The recovery rate is 95.83 per cent and case fatality rate is static at 1.45 per cent. Active cases have been under 3 lakh for seven days.

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