OMICRON: AP’s new lab gives genome sequencing test result in 36hrs

The health department has set up the genome sequencing lab on January 1, on an initiative from Chief Minister Jagan

Vijayawada: AP’s newly started genome sequencing lab in the premises of the government Siddartha medical college here can test 48 samples in 36 hours. These samples come mainly from Krishna and East and West Godavari districts.

The health department has set up the genome sequencing lab on January 1, on an initiative from Chief Minister Jagan to ensure that the samples from AP are tested locally. So far, all the samples were being sent to the CCMB in Hyderabad for this purpose.

This test helps the authorities to ascertain who among the international travellers and their contacts carried the Omicron virus.

An MoU has been signed by the AP government and the CCMB in Hyderabad to extend all support including supply of regents and raw material for the genome sequencing test.

However, the Covid-19 positive samples from the remaining 10 districts in AP will be sent to the CCMB for the genome sequencing tests. All the human resources personnel who work at the newly set-up lab are also trained on how to conduct genome sequencing on the samples.

The AP genome sequencing lab helps the state health authorities get the results of samples in just 36 hours unlike the earlier practice of waiting for the result from CCMB for nearly four to seven days, given the rise in the number of Omicron cases and a huge load of samples from TS and others.

Meanwhile, the state health authorities have applied for getting recognition to the Indian SARS-COV-2 genomics Sequencing Consortium that works under the Union ministry of science and technology to the newly set up AP’s genome sequencing lab, so that it helps access data from a network of 34 labs.

The authorities are also making efforts to tie up with the National Centre for Disease Control and ICMR for data-sharing at the national level from 34 labs in the country.

The health authorities say the lab will be further developed to conduct more tests for genome sequencing and also for the conduct of tests for any micro-organisms in future -- as it is not known which kind of viruses through mutations will emerge and what kind of tests are needed.

Andhra Pradesh Vaidya Vidhana Parishad commissioner Dr V. Vinod Kumar said, “The lab is functioning well and we have entered into a pact with CCMB for the requisite support.”

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