Karnataka forms genomic surveillance committee to identify emerging COVID strains

The committee shall work with public health experts and institutions to generate surveillance data and develop public health protocols at the state level.

Published: 09th June 2021 10:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2021 10:56 PM   |  A+A-


Coronavirus (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: After experts met Karnataka deputy chief minister, Dr CN Ashwath Narayan on the need of carrying out genomic surveillance in the state to identify the emerging strains early so that scientists can establish the transmissibility of the new strains, the state government has formed a genomic surveillance committee.

The state government issued a circular on the formation of genomic surveillance committee on Wednesday, who will assist the Karnataka COVID-19 Task Force in taking decisions towards controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee shall work with public health experts and institutions to generate surveillance data and develop public health protocols at the state level.

The committee will have to look into preparation of sero-surveillance strategy for Karnataka and prioritization, COVID-19 Genome sequencing to study virus variations/mutations, further RT-PCR tests validations/ calibrations across virus mutants. And in-depth analysis of genome surveillance and vaccination to identify immune escape versions of virus and their spread.

Virologist Dr Ravi V will be Chairman of the committee and the other members include, Dr. Vishal Rao. U.S (HCG Hospital), Proffesor. Satyajit Mayor (NCBS), Prof. Anurag Agrawal (lGlB), Dr. Vijay Chandru( Strand), Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed (C-Camp), DR. Ambika R Prof.& HOD- Dept. of Microbiology, BMCRI, DR. Prathiba J. Microbiologist/ senior specialist. MD, Microbiology-KCGH who will be the Member Secretary.

Dr.Vishal Rao, Dean HCG and Strand Life Sciences scientists - Dr Vamsi V and Rohan Pais submitted a reported to Dycm Ashwath Narayan on June 4,  of them conducting genomic surveillance of COVID patients from Bengaluru showing the new double mutant variant sub lineage B.1.617.2  they found out 41/44 sampled of covid patients belonged to B.1.617.2 strain. This strain, also called the Delta variant, had been labeled a Variant-Of-Concern (VOC) by the WHO because it has significantly increased transmissibility.

The experts had stated it was the need of hour to carry out the sequencing  atleast in ICU from patient who are dying or young patients with aggressive fungus, as genomic mapping will help to track the aggressive course as well as vaccine efficiency. 

We know that many of these will lead to vaccine escape mutation in leading to us either requiring a booster or may be a completely new vaccine. 

For eg the Pfizer vaccine may not be very effective against the 617.2 variant.


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