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After COVID-19 cases mount again, Centre starts tracking variants

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 cases from China, the Union government has taken stock of the situation. In order to better track coronavirus variants through the INSACOG network, the Union health ministry has written to all states urging them to enhance genome sequencing of positive cases.

According to Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan’s letter to all Indian states, “ln view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, the United States of America, Republic of Korea, Brazil, and China, it is essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through…INSACOG network.”

Such a process, according to Mr. Bhushan, “would enable timely detection of newer varieties, if any, circulating in the nation and will facilitate undertaking of necessary public health actions for the same.”

Over 50 laboratories work together as the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) to track COVID-19 viral genetic changes. Genome sequencing is a method for locating and analysing the traits of novel viral strains.

The Centre advised sending samples from all positive cases to the INSACOG genome sequencing labs every day. These labs are mapped with all the states and Union Territories.

According to the Centre, 35 lakh new instances of COVID-19 are being recorded globally each week. According to data from the Health Ministry, India saw 112 new instances of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning; the number of active cases dropped to 3,490.

China is struggling to handle an influx of bodies as it faces a wave of COVID-19 cases that authorities have stated is impossible to trace, and crematoriums nationwide are under pressure.

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