India

First pan-India Covid viral genome sequencing complete: Govt

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, here on Saturday, announced the completion of pan-India 1000 genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2.

The sequence data will soon be released in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) for use by researchers across the globe.

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The Department of Biotechnology had launched the programme in May to be conducted by autonomous Institutes of DBT, collaborating with national laboratories and clinical organisations.

“The information in the database will improve our understanding on how the virus is spreading, ultimately helping to interrupt the transmission chains, prevent new cases of infection and provide impetus to research on intervention measures,” said Vardhan.

The Minister said the data analysis might bring out some interesting conclusions to help in the fight against Covid-19.

He also dedicated to the nation the largest network of five Covid-19 bio-repositories established by the Department of Biotechnology. The aim of these bio-repositories are archival of inactivated virus and clinical samples, including naso-oropharyngeal swabs, stool, urine, saliva, serum, plasma and serum.

These are at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, the Institute of Life Science, Bhubaneswar, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, the National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, and the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore.

These bio-repositories will use the clinical samples for R&D and are authorised to share the samples with academia, industry and commercial entities involved in development of diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines, etc.

The Minister said 16 vaccine candidates were in different stages of development. The BCG vaccine is undergoing phase 3 trial, Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine is in phase I and II trial and 4 other vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of pre-clinical study.

“Five good clinical laboratory practice clinical trial sites have been developed and 6 animal models for vaccine development studies are also ready,” he said.

–IANS

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