As many as five labs, involved in genome sequencing of Coronavirus, have closed as a result of a lack of funds for reagents, as told by a top Union health ministry official NDTV. These chemical reagents are essential in finding the Omicron variant.
Those five labs were part of 38 such research labs, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetic Consortium (INSACOG), that were tasked with genome sequencing.
Why Is Genome Sequencing Crucial ?
As per reports, a 40% decline has been reported in the mapping of cases within the last four weeks. Approximately, 25,000 samples have gone through the process under the Omicron surge. Whereas, the latest number of COVID-19 infections crossed the 3 lakh mark today.
The closure of the labs can prove a double whammy for the spreading of the contagious virus. Certainly, it is impossible to do genome sequencing for every case. However, PM Modi underlined the importance of genome sequencing during the COVID review meet held earlier this month.
In addition to that, the chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal had earlier announced that genome mapping will be compulsory for every covid patient in Delhi.
The complete DNA sequence is determined in the genome sequencing process. This helps in studying the different aspects of the virus. Genome mapping is the sole reason for the discovery of vaccines against COVID-19. It has been done for only 1.6 lakh cases so far from the onset of the pandemic and the shutting down of five labs is a setback in the scientific identification of the Omicron variant.
Additionally, self-testing kit sales have shot up and as a result, the actual number of positive cases is also not accurate.
As we are aware, this pandemic has proven to be one of the biggest calamities. Therefore, not only precaution but proper scientific knowledge and progress is necessary to find solutions to this highly-infectious disease.