BENGALURU: The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has expanded its Viral Biosafety level three facility (BSL-3) to include a viral genome sequencing lab.The Viral BSL-3 has been working with the state government to help provide Covid-19 RT-PCR diagnostic services as well as conducting research around the virus. The addition of the viral genome sequencing lab will be used in studies related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, mainly tracking and constant surveillance to detect variants and mutations. The lab was inaugurated on Sunday, with the help of funding from CryptoRelief Fund.
“The viral genome sequencing lab will contribute not only towards tackling the threat that Covid-19 poses, but will also ensure we are ready to handle future health emergencies as well,” said Prof Govindan Rangarajan, IISc director.
“The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been evolving over time. Understanding the new variants that are coming up and whether existing vaccines can combat these variants is important. Through this support, we intend to take a step towards that,” a member of the CryptoRelief team said.While the lab has had approval to help with diagnosis of RT-PCR tests, it is yet to be approved for genome sequencing.
“If it is approved, then we can evenly distribute the load based on their sample load capacity. However, as far as I am aware, they have not been approved as an INSACOG lab for genome sequencing,” said Dr Trilok Chandra, BBMP Special (Health) Commissioner.