Researchers From Bhubaneswar’s SUM Hospital Help Identify 73 Novel Variants Of COVID-19 Strain

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Bhubaneswar: A team of genomic researchers from CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, and Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here has identified 73 novel variants of the COVID-19 strain.

The researchers, who carried out sequencing of 1536 samples including 752 clinical samples, reported two lineages B.1.112 and B.1.99 for the first time in India, Lead Investigator and Director (Research) of IMS and SUM Hospital, Dr Jayashankar Das said.

IMS and SUM Hospital is the faculty of medical sciences of the SOA Deemed to be University here.

Das said the research team, supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), validated the most advanced COVIDSeq technology for the first time in the world which could be a potential high sensitivity assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with the additional advantage of enabling genetic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2.

With this study, India beat 12 organisations in ten countries to complete the first field validation and released the data online, as per a report by Sequencing Giant tech Illumina.

The IMS and SUM Hospital researchers are also undertaking sequencing and analysis of 500 viral genomes to understand the mild, moderate and critical coronavirus infection along with its transmission capabilities, he said.

Besides, the study would help understand the vulnerability of the strains, new therapeutic target, a new mutation in eastern India specifically to Odisha. “This is the first-ever attempt in the world to have such a large scale detection, surveillance and genetic epidemiology of COVID-19 in a single run,” Das said.

The rapid emergence of coronavirus disease as a global pandemic, which has affected millions of people across the world, has necessitated sensitive and high-throughput approaches for the diagnosis, surveillance and determining the genetic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2, which would help in strain tracking information as well, he added.

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