First of its kind genome sequence lab to be inaugurated at Delhi Airport
New Delhi, Jan 14: The Delhi International Airport will get the first of its kind genome sequencing lab today. It would be inaugurated by Dr. Vinod Paul, member (health) Niti Aayog and chairman, national expert group on vaccine administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).
The positive samples will be genome sequenced to identify and contain the new mutant variant of COVID-19. The health ministry has established the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) for laboratory and epidemiological surveillance and to expand the whole genome sequencing of the coronavirus in the country, aiding in the understanding of how the virus spreads and evolves.
India has put in place a pro-active and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant of the virus. It includes temporary suspension of all flights coming from the UK with effect from the midnight of December 23 till December 31 and mandatory testing of all UK returnee air passengers through RT-PCR test.
Ten regional laboratories have been identified by the Centre where states will send five per cent of their COVID-19 positive samples for genome sequencing to detect the new coronavirus variant.
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response in the context of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 has already been issued by the Health Ministry.
The purpose of this initiative is to ensure proper screening of international travellers arriving in India for early detection of new SAR-CoV-2 variant cases. Further, epidemiological surveillance of the passengers, who have arrived in India since November 23, will be conducted in the community through active follow up.