HYDERABAD: Hyderabad is now part of a consortium of four city clusters established to step up genomic surveillance of the novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The other three cities that are part of the consortium are Bengaluru, New Delhi and Pune.Established with support and seed funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, the consortium will be led by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). A press statement issued by the CCMB on Thursday said: “The new effort will track the emergence of viral variants correlated to epidemiological dynamics and clinical outcomes. The consortium aims to develop targeted sampling strategies based on granular epidemiological and clinical data. Coupled with intense environmental surveillance and advanced computational techniques, the consortium would also focus on building capabilities for real-time surveillance and epidemiology.”
Apart from the CCMB, the consortium has other premier research institutions of the country as its partners and they are NCBS-TIFR, InStem-DBT and NIMHANS in Bengaluru, CSIR-IGIB in New Delhi, Pune Knowledge Cluster, IISER-Pune and CSIR-NCL in Pune.
The consortium will work closely with local governments, hospitals and clinicians and also in collaboration with the Central government’s Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). It will aim to eventually make efforts to expand the establishment to other strategic locations in India.
Former CCMB Director and presently its advisor, Dr Rakesh Mishra, will lead the consortium of the four city clusters along with Prof Satyajit Mayor of NCBS, Prof LS Shashidhara of Pune Knowledge Cluster and Dr Anurag Agrawal of IGIB.
According to the press release, the team’s aim is “to develop strategies and capabilities to identify Variants of Concern before they spread widely and cause outbreaks. This will also help correlate with clinical symptoms and disease severity, potentially associated with emerging variants.”
CONSORTIUM TO WORK WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
The consortium will work closely with local governments, hospitals and clinicians and also in collaboration with the Central government’s Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG)