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‘Fear of pandemics looms large in future’

Sequencing of viral genome has helped in understanding the spread and behaviour of the virus.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: December 6, 2020 9:06:15 pm
National Centre For Cell Science open day, 5th India International Science Festival, Pune news, indian express, NCCS PuneNational Centre for Cell Science (NCCS)

Dr Yogesh Shouche, senior scientist at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), said that although the number of infections per day are reducing, there is fear of a second wave.

This is already being seen in Europe and may happen in India too, thus there is a need to be vigilant and continue to take all the recommended precautions like social distancing and use of mask, he said.

Dr Shouche was speaking on the changing nature and current status of Covid-19 as part the curtain raiser event organised recently by the NCCS for the India International Science Festival 2020.

Vaccines are also on the way and UK will begin vaccinations starting next week. With this background he also discussed about the status and distribution, administration requirements for the vaccines reaching the market in near future. Towards the end, he warned that this conflict is ongoing and the fear of such pandemics looms large in future. He emphasized the need for preparedness and need for continued basic research.

“For the last one year world is affected by SARS Cov 2 pandemic but this is not the first pandemic to hit the world. There were many other pandemics that have affected the world in the past, Spanish flu in 1918 being the most notable one in terms of spread and casualties,” Dr Shouche said.

Sequencing of viral genome has helped in understanding the spread and behaviour of the virus. After the first genome sequence in January 2020, today there are more than 1.5 lakh viral genome sequences present in global database GSAID that includes around 3,500 from India. As a part of 1,000 genome initiative of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, NCCS undertook sequencing of viral genomes from Maharashtra with help from B J Government Medical College, Armed Forces Medical College and support from Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

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