COVID Sample Sequencing Has Progressively Increased Amidst R
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Government released the number of COVID samples that were sequenced every month amidst reports that alleged a decline in genome sequencing and analysis of Covid-19 as cases of disease continued to rise.

It was further stated by the authorities that the sequences analysed in the Institute of Genomics and Integrated Biology are as per the collection date of samples and does not depict the number of samples sequenced in a particular month. The samples sequenced by labs of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consoritum (INSACOG) also depends on the samples sent by the respective States.

The sample that were earlier sequenced by INSACOG labs, as was notified by the government, aimed at detecting the Variants of Concern (VOC) among incoming international travellers. For the detection of presence of VOC inside the country, 5 percent of the positives (by RT-PCR) were targeted for sequencing which was achieved in January 2021. This sequencing was further enhanced when states like Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi started showing rising trends in the month of February.

The government further clarified that it has set no limits on the number of samples that can be sent by states for sequencing to INSACOG labs; there is the option of sending vaccine break-through, reinfection or other unusual presentation samples for sequencing in addition to flexibility of identifying more sentinel sites.

Government stated the overrepresentation of samples from some districts as the reason behind using the sentinel surveillance strategy that made sure that samples from each State were geographically well represented. With the decrease in positivity, the samples availability from the sentinel sites catering to districts with zero or single digit weekly new cases has also gone down. Currently, over 86 districts in the country are having zero weekly new cases. Most COVID cases are being reported from two states namely Kerala and Maharashtra which is also reflected in the samples sequenced from various states.

As per INSACOG, 9066 samples were sent through sentinel sites in July and 6969 samples were shared in August. It was further stated that the data for samples for Whole-Genome Sequencing by the sentinel sites is being shared via Integrated Health Information Platform for timely communication of results.

Source:
https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/covid-sample-sequencing-has-progressively-increased-amidst-reports-of-decline-govt/85971564
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