73 Novel Variants of COVID-19 Strain
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73 Novel Variants of COVID-19 Strain In Odisha Identified

73 novel variants of the COVID-19 strain in Odisha have been identified by a team of genomic researchers from the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar, and CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi.

The lead investigator and director (research) of the IMS and SUM Hospital, Dr. Jayashankar Das said, “For the first time in India, two lineages — B.1.112 and B.1.99 have been reported by the research team after carrying out sequencing of 1,536 samples including 752 clinical samples. The treatment and cure for patients will become easier if the detailed character of the novel coronavirus is known.”

The most-advanced COVID-19 sequencing technology was validated by the research team, supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Having the added advantage of enabling genetic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 for the detection of SARS- CoV-2, this technology could be a potential high-sensitivity assay.

Quoting a report by sequencing tech firm Illumina, he added saying in completing the first field validation and releasing the data online, India has beaten 12 organizations in 10 countries with this study.

To understand the mild, moderate, and critical coronavirus infection along

with its transmission capabilities, the IMS and SUM Hospital researchers are also undertaking the sequencing and analysis of 500 viral genomes.

Moreover, the study will help understand new mutations in eastern India, especially in Odisha, new therapeutic targets, and the vulnerability of the strains.

Affecting millions of people across the world, the rapid emergence of COVID-19 as a pandemic has necessitated high-throughput and sensitive approaches for the COVID-19 diagnosis, surveillance, and determining the genetic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2, which will also help in tracking information of the strains.

Das explained the difference between RT-PCR test and COVID-19 sequencing tests stating, “The RT-PCR tests only determine whether a patient is positive or negative for the infection while the COVID-19 sequencing reports give the entire history of the coronavirus.”