Tirupati: The facility for genome sequencing to identify new variants of Covid-19 is to start soon in the virology laboratory of the Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) here. This will make it the first lab in the state to achieve self-reliance for complete sequencing, which helps in identifying mutations of the virus at the state level.
Even before the state’s first case of Delta plus variant was found here, SVIMS has been urging the state government, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and private testing labs to get an inventory of infrastructure, technical expertise and machinery to start genome sequencing of Covid-19 samples at a local level.
SVIMS currently sends samples to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and CCMB in Hyderabad. Also, samples from across the state were so far being sent to various institutes but reports always invariably came late.
For instance, with regard to the first Delta plus variant case, the sample of the person was sent to CCMB on April 5 and the result was out on June 23.
Considering the gravity of the situation, SVIMS, led by its Director Dr B. Vengamma, purchased the genome sequencing machine, with TTD funds. The machine is to be installed soon. A team from the vendor and the ICMR will provide special training to SVIMS lab technicians.
Confirming the development, SVIMS Director Dr Vengamma told Deccan Chronicle that the facility will be made available in the SVIMS lab soon for getting information about the new variants of the virus at the local level.
“The upcoming facility may augment capacity for testing and identification of mutations and variations of SARS-CoV-2. Thereafter, appropriate training will be provided to the staff and samples will be tested as per ICMR guidelines”, she said....