New Delhi: In view of the surge in COVID infections in India, five labs across the country aimed to perform genome sequencing samples from COVID patients have been closed due to lack of funds, NDTV reported quoting sources from the Health Ministry of India.
The report said that the Government of India’s scarcity of reagents applied to a sample to trigger a chemical reaction is becoming an issue as it attempts to detect cases of the highly virulent Omicron strain in order to isolate and contain the virus.
Earlier, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in a meeting said, “There is a need for continuous scientific research … including genome sequencing, given that the virus is evolving continuously”. The meeting was attended by India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, and senior government officials of India.
However, since the initial detection of Omicron strain, which is more infectious and has caused the majority of infections in the third wave in India, the report said sequencing has dropped by roughly 40% as compared to last month, with only an estimated 25,000 genomes sequenced.
Genome sequencing is a process of determining the entirety, or nearly the entirety, of the DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time. As per the experts, it is the only way to definitively identify the several known variants of the coronavirus and is also critical in monitoring the biological evolution of the novel coronavirus.
Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry in its bulletin said that over three lakh cases of coronavirus were reported in India in the last 24 hours. The cases include over 2,700 new Omicron infections.