COVID-19 News

Coronavirus genomic surveillance mechanism intensified

Coronavirus genomic surveillance mechanism in India New Delhi, Dec 07: A consortium of national laboratories based in four cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune – is continuously conducting genomic surveillance of coronavirus, which has helped to sequence more and more samples of the virus. The focus of the consortium The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG – Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that the effort will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Institutions involved in the consortium Apart from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi; Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune; and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. The first two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus were recently confirmed in Bangalore by the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS). NCBS is part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters – Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bangalore team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence, and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two COVID-19 infected individuals. The information was quickly passed on to the local and national authorities, and the government of India issued a statement on 2nd December 2021 afternoon, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID so that they can be made readily available to…

COVID-19 News

Know everything about the ‘Omicron’ coronavirus reported from South Africa

What we know about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 so far Update on Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant New Delhi, 29th November 2021. On 26 November 2021, the world health organization (WHO) designated variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).  This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes. Here is a summary of what is currently known about Omicron (B.1.1.529). This information has been released by the World Health Organization about Omicron (B.1.1.529) Current knowledge about Omicron (B.1.1.529) Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of these studies as they become available. Transmissibility of Omicron (B.1.1.529): It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) compared to other variants, including Delta. The number of people testing positive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant, but epidemiologic studies are underway to understand if it is because of Omicron or other factors. The severity of disease of Omicron (B.1.1.529): It is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.  Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of a specific infection with Omicron.  There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants.  Initially reported infections were among university studies—younger individuals who tend to have the more mild disease—but understanding the level of severity of the Omicron variant will take days to several weeks.  All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the…