March 14, 2021 2:30:51 am
The Covid-19 outbreak has opened up opportunities for the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Center (GBRC) in Gandhinagar, which according to the socio-economic review of Gujarat for the financial year 2020-21, has as of now sequenced 622 of the 3,452 Covid-19 genomes sequenced in India.
Established under the Gujarat government’s department of science and technology (DST), GBRC has, however, seen a cut in the proposed budget provision this year — from a provision of Rs 2.80 crore in financial year 2020-21, the DST this year has provisioned Rs 2 crore instead. The budgetary provision made for this financial year is for the purpose of developing a Bio Safety Level-3+ laboratory facility at GBRC, as was noted in the budget tabled on March 3.
According to the socio-economic review of Gujarat made public on March 12, GBRC has been “contributing to the prevailing situation in the state by conducting various research programs during the Novel Coronavirus epidemic….During the epidemic, Covid-19 genome sequencing projects was initiated by GBRC to understand the origin of coronavirus, its evolution, efficacy, potential drug target and vaccine development. “
GBRC in Gandhinagar was the second laboratory in India after National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, to complete the sequencing of a whole genome of the novel coronavirus in April 17, 2020 from a single sample of a Covid-19 positive patient.
A team of more than 10 people had worked on decoding the sequence, including the institute director and professor Chaitanya Joshi, joint director Dr Madhavi Joshi and other research associates and fellows.
Director Joshi confirmed that this is the first time that GBRC is finding a mention in the state’s socio-economic review report. “That is also because we only started in 2018. It is not only the state-level but our work is also being noticed at the national-level such as DBT (Department of Biotechnology).” he added
The review also noted that GBRC has been accredited by ICMR for the diagnosis of Covid-19, under which “more than 5000 samples have been tested by GBRC.”
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