India: Central Government Ask States to Increase Genome Sequencing for COVID-19

HEALTHCARE

Union Secretary of Health Rajesh Bhushan warned that COVID-19 actually perseveres all over the world with around 35 lakh COVID-19 cases detailed week after week, as COVID-19 Omicron BF.7 cases are increasing rapidly across the globe.

As the sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in countries like Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, and China poses a threat of an emerging fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Rajesh Bhushan sent a notice to all states and union territories of India to increase genome sequencing.

Rajesh Bhushan added that, all the states are requested to ensure that samples of all positive COVID-19 cases are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) as early as possible, which are mapped to the States and Union Territories on a daily basis.

Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the genome sequencing of all COVID-19-positive samples is facilitated by all the accountable authorities. Rajesh Bhushan emphasized that such a move would facilitate the necessary public health measures and aid in the early detection of new COVID-19 variants.

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According to Rajesh Bhushan, in view of sudden increase in COVID-19 cases being observed in Japan, USA, Korea, Brazil, and China, it is important to prepare the whole genome sequencing of positive COVID-19 case samples to track variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network.

According to Rajesh Bhushan, India has been able to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by focusing on a five-step strategy of testing, treating, vaccinating, and adhering to the COVID-19 appropriate behavior. India currently has approximately 1200 COVID-19 cases per week.

The Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in Context of COVID-19, which were issued in June 2022 by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has called for early detection, isolation, testing, and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new COVID-19 variants.