Genome Sequencing
Currently, more than 50 samples of UK returnees are under sequencing at the designated laboratories | Representative Photos: iStock

Govt is taking measures to set up more genomic sequencing labs: Karnataka CM

Amid concerns about the spread of Omicron variant of coronavirus, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Tuesday that the government is taking measures to set up more genomic sequencing labs in the state.

During the second wave of COVID-19, the state government had said that six genome sequencing labs were being set up at Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Hubballi, Mangaluru and Vijayapura.

“We have taken measures to set up genomic sequencing labs, it requires expert facilities and lab equipment. Instructions have been given to the Health Secretary in this regard,” Bommai said, in response to a question on increasing the number of genomic sequencing labs in the state.

“We are taking all the required measures to set up more such labs,” Bommai told reporters in Hubballi.

Two cases of the Omicron infections were detected in the state last week, one is a South African national who has left the country after testing negative, while the other is a local doctor with no travel history.

Also read: Did wily Omicron pick up cold virus genes to attack humans easily?

Further, noting that there are labs in every district to do COVID-19 tests, the Chief Minister said in the case of genomic sequencing that it requires expert facility, and all cases are not set for genomic sequencing. “Now because of Omicron variant, whenever there is suspicion, we are sending samples for such a test,” the CM said.

“For higher reference, samples are also being sent to National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS),” the CM said, adding there are no issues as the genomic sequencing reports are coming much quicker than earlier.

As of now, labs at NCBS and NIMHANS, are the only two laboratories in Karnataka that have been approved by Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) to conduct genomic sequencing.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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