5 Genome Sequencing Labs In India Forced To Shut Down: Reports

New Delhi: In a major blow to India’s COVID-19 management amid the Omicron-driven third wave, genomic sequencing of coronavirus-positive samples has had to be halted in 5 laboratories across India.

The reason is a shortage of reagents used in labs for the genome sequencing process, NDTV reported quoting Union Home ministry sources.

These 5 labs are among 38 in India which are part of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium (INSACOG). The labs are authorized to carry out genome sequencing to identify the strain of coronavirus.

Due to unavailability of funds, labs have been facing problems in the procurement of reagents used in the process of genomic sequencing, officials said.

Genome sequencing has become all the more critical since the highly-transmissible Omicron variant surfaced about two months ago.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on the importance of genome sequencing during a COVID review meeting earlier this month.

But sequencing in India has decreased by about 40% compared to last month. Since Omicron was first reported in India, around 25,000 genomes have been sequenced.

As for the numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic broke, 1.6 lakh samples have been sequenced in the country.

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