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Eye on mutant strains, genome sequencing lab installed at Delhi airport

The lab was set up by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research's Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in a tie-up with healthcare firm SpiceHealth.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 15, 2021 1:13:06 am
CSIR-IGIB is a constituent member of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium recently announced by the Health Ministry.

A portable genome sequencing lab was installed at the Delhi Airport on Thursday to trace and contain mutant strains of the coronavirus found in passengers arriving from foreign countries.

The lab was set up by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in a tie-up with healthcare firm SpiceHealth.

The genome sequencing of positive samples will help ensure early action in containing new mutant variants that have increased transmissibility, said CSIR D-G Dr Shekhar Mande, adding that these portable sequencers will be deployed at other airports across the country.

The new strains of the coronavirus have been found in the UK and South Africa, among other countries.

“We have also made the number of days for sequencing faster. Whereas before it could take up to 8-10 days, now it can be done within 24-48 hours,” said Dr Mande. He said faster intervention could considerably reduce the risk of transmission.

CSIR-IGIB is a constituent member of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium recently announced by the Health Ministry.

Dr Anurag Agrawal, CSIR-IGIB Director, said: “Affordable and widespread point of care sequencing is one of the most important new trends in next age diagnostics. Here, we plan to use it to help in better monitoring and managing the SARS CoV2 pandemic, but this is just a beginning towards its many potential clinical and public health applications.”

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