Goa to set up genome-sequencing lab for Covid patients

Panaji: Unable to identify Covid-19 strains in patients testing positive during the second Covid-19 wave in Goa, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday said the state government was in the process of sourcing equipment to set up a genome sequencing laboratory of its own.

Rane also said the health authorities in Goa were facing a difficulty in getting samples tested at the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV).

“NIV samples not just take 10 to 15 days to return, some samples are not returned at all,” the Goa Health Minister added.

“We have found only five cases of a different Covid-19 variant, the UK strain,” Rane said, adding that, after sourcing the genome sequencing lab, the health authorities would be in a position to identify Covid-19 strains prevalent in Goa and set up appropriate Covid treatment protocols.

The Goa Health Minister also urged people above 45 years to vaccinate themselves.

“Vaccination reduces the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Mortality is brought down. It builds your immunity,” he said.

Rane also said the state government had planned to launch an outreach programme in the villages of Goa to get eligible people to vaccination centres and added that block level officers (BLOs) — often referred to as the backbone in electoral roll exercises — roped in for the effort.

“BLOs will be roped in because they know the people who are above 45 years,” said the Minister.


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