Pan-India 1000 genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 completed: Dr Harsh Vardhan – ET HealthWorld

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday announced the completion of pan-India 1000 genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 here on Saturday.

Dr Harsh Vardhan held a meeting with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and reviewed the COVID-19 activities of DBT, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and DBT-Autonomous Institutions (AIs).

According to an official release, the Department of Biotechnology had launched a Pan-India 1000 SARS–CoV-2 RNA Genome Sequencing programme in May this year to be done by Autonomous Institutes of DBT, collaborating with national laboratories and clinical organisations.

During the meeting, Dr Harsh Vardhan also launched the largest network of five dedicated COVID-19 Biorepositories established by Department of Biotechnology.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Given the importance of this information for public health response initiatives requiring investigation into the transmission of COVID-19, the sequence data will soon be released in Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) for use by researchers across the globe.”

“The information in the database will improve our understanding on how the virus is spreading, ultimately helping to interrupt the transmission chains, prevent new cases of infection, and provide impetus to research on intervention measures”, he added.

The minister said, “The data analysis, which is ongoing, may bring out some interesting conclusions to help in our fight against COVID-19.”

Dr Harsh Vardhan also highlighted that “16 vaccine candidates are in different stages of development. The BCG vaccine is undergoing phase 3 trial, Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine is in phase I / II trial and 4 vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of pre-clinical study”.

“Five good clinical laboratory practice (GCLP) clinical trial sites have been developed and six animal models for vaccine development studies are also ready,” he said.

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