Odisha: Researchers help identify 73 variants of COVID-19 strain

Bhubaneswar: A team of genomic researchers from CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi and Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here has identified 73 novel variants of the Covid-19 strain for the first time.

The researchers, who carried out sequencing of 1536 samples including 752 clinical samples, reported two lineages B.1.112 and B.1.99 for the first time in India, Dr. Jayashankar Das, Lead Investigator and Director (Research) of IMS and SUM Hospital, said.

He said the research team, supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), validated the most advanced COVIDSeq technology for the first time in the world which could be a potential high sensitivity assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with the additional advantage of enabling genetic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2.

With this study, India beat 12 organisations in ten countries to complete the first field validation and released the data online, as per a report by Sequencing Giant tech Illumina.

The IMS and SUM Hospital researchers are also undertaking sequencing and analysis of 500 viral genomes to understand the mild, moderate and critical coronavirus infection along with its transmission capabilities, he said.

Besides, the study would help understand the vulnerability of the strains, new therapeutic target, new mutation in eastern India specifically to Odisha. “This is the first-ever attempt in the world to have such a large scale detection, surveillance and genetic epidemiology of Covid-19 in a single run,” Dr. Das said.

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