- Officers present at the meeting informed the Prime Minister that the Indian Consortium on SARS-CoV-2 Genomics (INSACOG) has 28 laboratories nationwide to facilitate genome sequencing of collected samples.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the need for constant genome sequencing of Covid-19 test samples to actively monitor the emergence of any new mutants during the high-level review meeting he chaired on Friday the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a press release. .
Officers present at the meeting informed the Prime Minister that the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has 28 laboratories across the country to facilitate genome sequencing of collected samples, and the laboratory network has been linked to hospitals for clinical correlation. Sampling of wastewater is also done for genomic monitoring. The PM was informed that states have been urged to regularly share positive samples for SARS CoV2 with INSACOG, the PMO said.
INSACOG was established by the Union Health Ministry in December last year to monitor genome sequencing of circulating viral strains. A consortium of 28 laboratories located in different regions of the country works under the name INSACOG. Genomic surveillance of Covid-19 viral strains is crucial because it helps determine the incidence and prevalence of variants of concern (VOCs). INSACOG identified the highly transmissible double mutant strain as a VOC last year.
The briefing comes days after the Ministry of Health’s announcement on September 6, indicating that 16,000 samples of Covid-19 had been sent to INSACOG for genomic sequencing during the months of July and August. The ministry released the information after news reports emerged alleging that genome sequencing and sample analysis had dropped sharply in India.
The Prime Minister also reviewed the state of upcoming oxygen plants across the country. He was informed of the concentration of cases in a few geographic areas, districts with high test positivity as well as the week after week test positivity rate in the country. While interacting with officials, he was briefed on the ongoing vaccination campaign across the country. The official statement said: PM reviewed the status of the increase in bed capacity for pediatric care and the increase in facilities supported under the COVID Emergency Response Package II. It was also discussed that states were urged to redesign and orient primary care and block health infrastructure in these areas to deal with the situation in rural areas.
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